Fight Mud With Bleach?

Alfian Sa'at

Singapore Unbound strongly condemns the attack by Singapore’s ruling party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), on Singaporean author Alfian Sa’at. In a letter published on the PAP website, Member of Parliament Dr. Tan Wu Meng cherry-picks Alfian’s Facebook posts and misreads his words to depict the author falsely as unpatriotic. Most pernicious is Dr. Tan’s statement: “This man grew up in Singapore. Singapore gave him his education and he earns a living here. An education and a living that is denied to many minorities in the region.” The suggestion that minorities should be especially grateful to Singapore teeters on racism, if it does not tip right over. Gratitude is neither here nor there. As a commentator has it, Singaporeans do not live in a feudal state, but in a modern democracy, in which citizens hold certain obligation to the state in return for certain rights and freedoms.

Alfian has rebutted the letter point by point in a Facebook post. The rebuttal is necessary to clear his name, but what a waste of the time and energy of one whom many in the arts consider to be Singapore’s national playwright, the conscience of a nation. In addition, the malicious letter and its aftermath distract from the larger issues with the general elections that the ruling party has just conveniently called in the midst of a pandemic. ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights recently issued a report that judges Singapore’s elections to be “neither fair not free.” Whatever popular mandate that the PAP receives from these elections is tainted by the fundamentally undemocratic process. Stepping up its attacks on its critics will not change this truth.

Writers should not be judged on the narrow and vague criterion of patriotism. A vital part of their work is to challenge us to reexamine our most cherished beliefs and to feel our ties to other human beings beyond state borders. On the wrongheaded test of patriotism, Alfian himself puts it best, “I have the deepest respect for the intelligence of my readers and audiences, and I know they will approach my works with care, openness, and sensitivity. I know that they are not easily swayed by combative rhetoric and shadowy accusations. As a writer, I will continue to write about things that are naughty, irreverent, even contrarian. To write about how feelings are often messy and thoughts contradictory. I don’t wish to fight mud with bleach and end up being unrecognisable to myself. Or else why be a writer at all? Might as well join politics.”

Singapore Unbound is proud to stand with Alfian Sa’at, who is both a Gaudy Boy author and one of our honorary advisors. His contributions to literature go far beyond the territory of Singapore. Singaporeans should cherish Alfian for showing us the parts of ourselves that we would rather not face.

 

Jee Leong Koh

 

 

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8 Responses to “Fight Mud With Bleach?”

  • Top Money for Top Talents:

    Dear Jee,
    I quote you “ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights recently issued a report that judges Singapore’s elections to be “neither fair not free.”
    ===========================================================
    You must be another Ang Mo Tua Kee idiot.
    Go read the book by John Bolton, ex National Security Adviser to President Trump… hahaha….ROC Taiwan like to suck the dicky of US but US just treat them as disposable underwear…. hahahaha …

    The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir
    https://www.amazon.com/Room-Where-Happened-White-Memoir/dp/1982148039

    In one word, John Bolton had revealed the greatest country USA Democracy Hypocrisy of the highest order.

    Watch more real Taiwan News (not DPP main strean news) to know what is real Democracy in Taiwan.
    寰宇全視界20200620【完整版上集】|波頓出書狂揭川普面目
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNLctFmRFjA

    Eight Times the U.S. Has Betrayed the Kurds
    https://theintercept.com/2019/10/07/kurds-syria-turkey-trump-betrayal/

    Ang Mo is angel ? Hahaha… Democracy is solution ? hahahahaaaaaaa

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    GD Star Rating
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  • Top Money for Top Talents:

    Dear Singaporeans,
    There is no such thing as fair and free.

    ROC Taiwan under the ruling Democratic Progressive Party 蔡英文, if you criticized Tsai DPP party, you will be labeled pro-communist trait**. 舔共叛国。

    So is this labeling fair and free ? Democratic ? my foot …hahahaha

    The underhand tactics by Democratic Progressive Party 蔡英文
    《無色覺醒》 賴岳謙 |高雄市長補選上策?藍白拒絕提名投票?|20200622
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCmIXwXiUAQ&t=217s

    Hahahahahaha.. President Tsai copy our great PAP strategy. Well done.

    Singapore is having same democratic as ROC Taiwan.
    And who said Singapore is not democratic.

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • Bleach kill Leeches:

    Yes Bleach also kill all the money-leeching new piggies candidates that are lining up for a good $16K payday.
    Why do you join papigs—money is good will be the honest answer; you will never get this true answer from them.
    In future, all want to retire in the Swiss Alps like $500K-is-Mediocre Peanut Farmer.Cut from the same cloth.

    GD Star Rating
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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Gutter Rats are such and the Top Rat is now scampering into its HOLE namely the PM who said he can earn BETTER outside the govt…but hang on to Parasite on the People…

    No NEED to say MORE this GE shows what they TRULY are a Pack of Gutter Rats

    GD Star Rating
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  • trublu:

    Pofma?
    MSM SHUD BE POFMA-ed for all thd FAKE NEWS!

    GD Star Rating
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  • Anything can be poiticised:

    Nowadays anything can be politicised.
    From EPL to snowdrops and daffodills and all kinds of everything. More so political criticism, whence it is not even a crime. If it is, then The Masses are politically ruled by Criminals.

    GD Star Rating
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  • PAP Dissolved Into Thin Air:

    Don’t you think we should push for a fair and free society then? YOU want to be treated UNFAIRLY and have your rights CURTAILED?

    Top Money for Top Talents:
    Dear Singaporeans,
    There is no such thing as fair and free.

    ROC Taiwan under the ruling Democratic Progressive Party 蔡英文, if you criticized Tsai DPP party, you will be labeled pro-communist trait**. 舔共叛国。

    So is this labeling fair and free ? Democratic ? my foot …hahahaha

    The underhand tactics by Democratic Progressive Party 蔡英文
    《無色覺醒》 賴岳謙 |高雄市長補選上策?藍白拒絕提名投票?|20200622
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCmIXwXiUAQ&t=217s

    Hahahahahaha.. President Tsai copy our great PAP strategy. Well done.

    Singapore is having same democratic as ROC Taiwan.
    And who said Singapore is not democratic.

    GE2020.PAP.Guarantee.Win.All
    Majullah $PAP$ $PAP$ Huat$ Huat$ Huat$
    Singaporeans must be Cheaper, Better, Faster.
    Workers must accept wage sacrifices to keep businesses going.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  • I'm Elitist But say I'm Humble:

    Sa’at is no saint but he’s right to say he’s nobody. Acts very grand, cold and give people condesending looks. Only when his plays get banned and/or arts funding withdrawn, then he come out and say govt bully him/trample on his rights, acts like a victim. Try to solicit public sympathy. Boo Hoo Hoo.

    Last time this X’ho Spore radio DJ wrote a book. In it he complained about Spore. A few chapters later, he gave lots of reasons why one should vote PAP.

    All these people want to have their cake and eat it.

    I just cannot sympathize.

    GD Star Rating
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