2015年已经被(政府)定位积极的叙述国家(历史)的活动和庆祝的日子。假设我们今年不通过提名谢太宝博士为诺贝尔和平奖候选人,事实上,SG50 的另一面的历史似乎已经被全球所忽略。










Singapore’s Noble Nomination Highlights Dark Political History

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize nomination of Dr. Chia Thye Poh on the occasion of Singapore’s 50 years of independence is highly significant.

Although Dr. Chia did not win the Prize, his nomination drew attention globally to the other Singapore – its dark political history.

Throughout Singapore’s 50 year history, the ruling People’s Action Party’s (PAP) has on numerous occasions used the Internal Security Act to arrest and detain without trial its political opponents.

One man had suffered the longest – Dr. Chia Thye Poh.  He was arrested in 1966 at the age of 25 and detained without charge or trial for nearly 23 years under Singapore’s Internal Security Act (ISA). He was subsequently subjected to a range of personal and political restrictions for another 9 years, interned first on the island of Sentosa then on the main island of Singapore. He was only released of all restrictions on 27 November 1998 at the age of 57.

In Singapore, add to the use of detention without trial under the ISA, a mix of defamation suits against political opponents, a regulatory framework that limits freedom of expression and assembly, a media environment with tight gatekeeping, the use of state institutions for party benefit, an electoral system that is not independent, and a slew of other contributing legislation that restricts political participation and you create a society where the majority have become politically cautious. So much so that many are uncomfortable even to voice out or support criticisms of the People’s Action Party.

2015 has been marked by activities and celebrations that promote a positive national narrative. The other side of SG50 is likely to be missed by many globally if it had not been brought to attention through Dr. Chia Thye Poh’s nomination this year.

The dark side of Singapore is intimately tied to the use of the Internal Security Act and other legal instruments. Over the years many have been arrested, detained without trial and bankrupted through civil law suits for their political activities. In 2015, as Singapore celebrates 50 years of independence, contemporary activists continue to be subjected to defamation suits and other legal sanctions as they speak up against this regime.

Such political intimidation and control has had a long-term impact on the voting majority and has allowed 50 years of uninterrupted single party rule in Singapore.

In 2015, a conservative election result has left many with a huge feeling of disappointment and has raised questions if the electoral path is still worthy of consideration or if another approach for a democratic system change should be deliberated.

In sketching the other Singapore, it is also important to note, given the nature of the city-state’s politics and its compliant network of elites, any attempt to highlight the counter narrative is often vilified and negated by a self-serving narrative.

This is what observers need to look out for in the remaining months of 2015 as Singapore wraps up its SG50 celebrations – who will be stepping up to prop up the Singapore narrative without acknowledging its dark political history and the types kinds of arguments they will use to support their one-sided narrative.

Although Dr. Chia Thye Poh, did not win the Nobel Peace Prize, his nomination attracted global media coverage and this has contributed somewhat towards bringing a slight re-balance to Singapore’s history on the occasion of its 50th year of independence.

The Nobel selection committee does not reveal the names of nominees until 50 years later and that’s just as well. In that regard, we can look forward to see if Dr. Chia Thye Poh is recorded in the list of nominees for 2015 when Singapore turns 100.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination of Dr. Chia Thye Poh will be Singapore’s 50 year democracy time capsule.