Like the Uighurs, JBJ had not only to be destroyed but made a non-person

Thanks to Jolovan Wham for sharing on Twitter an article from State Media mouthpiece:


Jolovan underlined the phrase in yellow:

“It is hard to fault China for wanting to rehabilitate the Uighurs if their ideology is anathema to to the Chinese state and hostile to other communities”

In China’s Newspeak, “rehabilitation” is a euphemism for incarceration in concentration camps and, as we have learned recently, forcible separation of children from their parents in the interests of obliterating all traces of Islam and Uighur culture.

Of course “rehabilitation” in what are euphemistically termed “re-education” camps is the standard response of totalitarian regimes in dealing with their ideological enemies. The Soviet Union, Vietnam, North Korea, the puppet regimes in Eastern Europe set up by the Soviets after WWII have all used this pretext to detain millions of people more or less indefinitely and to kill the majority through a combination of overwork and starvation. The Nazis had the same sardonic humour when they hung “Arbeit Macht Frei” above the gates at Auschwitz though that became primarily an extermination camp.

What is chilling is the ready endorsement given by our supposedly free-market loving Government to totalitarian justifications for extreme methods in dealing with their enemies, whether real or designated as such in order to unify the rest of the population behind persecution of a manufactured “outsider” who can be the scapegoat for the regime’s shortcomings.

Jolovan uses the example of the so-called Marxist “conspirators” who were detained in 1987 as being a threat to the security of Singapore. However I am struck by the echoes with the language used by Lee Hsien Loong in his hypocritical and self-serving “condolence’ letter that he wrote to me and my brother Philip on my dad’s death in 2008:

Mr JB Jeyaretnam was a Member of Parliament for Anson constituency from 1981 till 1986, and a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 1997 till 2001. He used to engage in heated debates in the House. Perhaps it was because he and the PAP never saw eye to eye on any major political issue and he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government. Unfortunately, this helped neither to build up a constructive opposition nor our Parliamentary tradition. 

It is not hard to see the similarity between “an ideology anathema to the Chinese state” and “he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government”. In my father’s case being a believer in liberal democracy and transparency meant professing an ideology which was anathema to the PAP state, or more accurately, to the interests of the Lee family. While LHL does not say openly that my dad had to be destroyed, that can be clearly inferred from his words. His father did not bother to cloak his intent, using the infamous phrase:

As long as Jeyaretnam stands for what he stands for — a thoroughly destructive force — we will knock him. There are two ways of playing this. One, a you attack the policies; two, you attack the system. Jeyaretnam was attacking the system, he brought the Chief Justice into it. If I want to fix you, do I need the Chief Justice to fix you? Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac. 

And according to my brother “rehabilitation” was offered to my dad in 2000 if he would only repent the error of his ways. Apparently, an ambassadorship or some other well-paid sinecure was on offer, a la David Marshall, if he would only agree to retire from “unconstructive” opposition and spend more time with his grandchildren. As we all know, he refused and ended up being made a bankrupt and denied the chance to stand again.

The Op-Ed in the State Times, using the same type of language as LHL’s condolence letter, clearly expresses the PAP regime’s ruthless totalitarian foundations. Any ideology or person who poses a threat, no matter how slight, to the interests of the state, which are synonymous with the preservation of the power, wealth and privilege of the ruling elite will be ruthlessly stamped out. In China’s case it is President Xi, his family and the circle around him and in Singapore’s case it is of course the Lee family.


Kenneth Jeyaretnam

* The author blogs at





8 Responses to “Like the Uighurs, JBJ had not only to be destroyed but made a non-person”

  • meet in cul de sac:

    lky was talking lan words. what cul de sac?

    ffff. he can’t even rise up to right all the pap clown wrongs.

    and he was arrogant only because of blatant abuse of power. agc spf bank negara cpib all reported to him so much so every human in Singapore was subject to abuse of power except he himself.

    but. look at najib. he copied lky. najib had agc spf bank negara cpib reporting to him too. but as soon as esteemed Dr Mahatir toppled najib, look at najib and najib wife and najib S$m gang NOW.

    lesson. there is never such as thing as meeting in cul de sac. those are words of a coward who abused power. as soon as New Government forms in Singapore we shall meet every lying S$m cheating pap clan member in cul de sac. that we also can say. and can, probably, deliver unlike lying lky.

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    What was LHL saying was (and still is) the “system” JBJ attacked? JBJ was critical of LKY/PAP’s arguably autocratic ways, including, say, the non-separation of the judiciary from the administration (which LHL probably meant by taking it as a case-in-point JBJ’s “taking on the Chief Justice”). Now, even if it’s justifiable Constitutionally for government elected within our democracy to act in ways objected to by JBJ as being undemocratic, that governance can be only one option presented for the electorate’s choice. It isn’t the “system” that is sacrosanct by our Constitution. JBJ’s attempting to provide the people with an alternative freer and more caring governance was rather promoting our democratic “system” by enabling an option.

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  • TruBlu:


    He never said die despite all the odds working against him.
    PAP member$ snided at him,many sgs too.
    I am proud n glad to say i in him a MAN OF HONOUR N i bought his HAMMER regularly n got chided by idiotic colleagues who were *fearful* they would lose their jobs???
    Sounds ridiculous but that was that.

    Till today, i can still remember how he looked standing at *crossroads* at RAFFLES PLACE shouting HAMMER!


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  • DevilWorkshop:

    Your dad didn’t tear down the House. Your dad basically wanted to “share House”. To Lee, as he saw it, your dad approach attacked “the system”.

    Bear in mind that anyone striving to be the next in power has to unseat the incumbent strongman to be the next strongman otherwise how are you going to make changes?

    The House offers you that powerful scepter(to be an emperor ) if so, you are not tearing down the House, you are merely “cleaning up” the House for the next fox or weasel.

    Had your dad been the next strong willful man in power, he too would in his own way maintain his willful stand to demolish those who would attack “the system”.

    Moral of the story?

    You don’t want to be the devil , don’t enter and reside in the devil’s House.

    None of you has the faith to speak to the… Mountain.

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  • Dr Tan Tai Wei:

    Interesting news from Kenneth’s brother about offer of some “ambassadorship” or other in exchange of JBJ’s changing course. For this could explain some erstwhile critics of government having changed course and enjoyed long tenures as ambassador. Hopefully that isn’t the reason, for if so, isn’t it bribery of some sort, buying favours?

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  • 毒力桥:



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  • Singaporean Kong Come:

    Who ever opposed the Ashman (LKY), he will destroyed them. The Ashman wife has aredy quoted on your face, Who ever obstruct us, we will make them Road Runner, Bankrupt or Jail. Francis Seow, Tang Liang Hong n many other B 4, has either arrested into prison detain without trail. Chia Chye Poh is the longest person inprisonment for 32years. There is no rule of law, only the rule of one familee.

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  • Condolence recast:

    “Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but in thankfulness that he was.”
    – Hebrew Proverb

    “The pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, an almost fanatical love of justice and the desire for personal independence – these are the features of the Jewish tradition which make me thank my stars that I belong to it.”
    [Albert Einstein, The World as I See It]

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