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Prelude to the Post-Lee Kuan Yew Era

Event: Saturday 24 Nov 2012  time: 2-4pm 
at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Book launch
Speakers at Singapore Forum: Tan Wah Piow, Dr G Raman & Dr Wong Chin Huat

Tan Wah Piow, the author of Smokescreens & Mirrors, will be in Kuala Lumpur to launch the book on the 24th November. 

Smokescreens & Mirrors is not only a powerful rebuttal of the Singapore government’s allegations against him in 1987 as the “Mastermind of a Marxist Plot” to overthrow the PAP, it is, in the words of one Singaporean reviewer:

Smokescreens, however, is not simply a historical analysis of the political machinations that took place in 1987. It closes in the present with a call to action: Tan pushes for a
re-examination of Operation Spectrum as “an initial education process to mobilise public opinion to Restart, Rejuvenate and Reclaim the Constitution” (p.72, capitals his). He establishes the foundation of his arguments upon the Singapore Constitution, which he avers “has to be the first point of reference in any political debate where liberties are at stake” (p.30). G. Raman states in his foreword that “the book contains Wah Piow’s agenda for a true democratic society in Singapore”. Smokescreens is thus polemical – and openly so.

In Escape from the Lion’s Paw edited by Teo Soh Lung and Low Yit Leng, Wah Piow published his long awaited account of his escapade from Singapore in 1976. The chapter The Making of an Outlaw is a mini-autobiography of this former student leader who was thrown into prison in 1975 following a fabricated charge. Immediately following his release, he had to devise his escape routes to avoid being inducted into the military. It became an enormous blow to the authorities when he managed to escape from the the Lion’s Paw, and and sought political asylum in the United Kingdom where he now resides and has his own legal practice. His citizenship was revoked in 1987.

This book also carries stories of escapade published for the first time of other dissidents who had to flee from LKY’s iron-fist rule, among them, the late Francis Khoo and Wah Piow’s colleagues during the University days, Tsui Hon Kwong from Hong Kong and ex-detainee, Ms Tang Fong Har.

These two books are published this year in Singapore to coincide with the 25 anniversary of the infamous Operation Spectrum in 1987. At the time 22 social activists, lawyers, journalists and church workers were detained without trial. Many Singaporeans till today do not believe in the PAP government’s claim of a Marxist Plot, and despite the lapse of time, the issue continues to haunt the political credibility of the regime, and a lingering embarrassment to the more liberal elements within the ruling PAP.

Dr G Raman has been a practising lawyer in Singapore since 1969.  His doctorate thesis is titled "Law as an Instrument of Social Change in Singapore".  It deals with how the PAP used law to perpetuate its hegemony in Singapore.

Raman was the legal adviser to the University of Singapore Students’ Union in 1969 and later in 1974.  He represented one of the two workers charged with its student leader, Tan Wah Piow on the trumped-up charge of rioting in 1974. He was detained for more than a year in February 1977 for alleged subversive activities under the Internal Security Act.

Author of a book on probate practice in Singapore and Malaysia, Raman has contributed articles to the Journal of Contemporary Asia and other local publications."  

In the Forward to Smokescreens & Mirrors, G Raman wrote:
Twenty-five years later (from 1987), Wah Piow’s dreams may not have been realised. But the dreams are taking shape and it is a matter of time before the ideals that Wah Piow espoused become a reality…  It will be an opportunity missed and a road to their downfall if the PAP does not take note of the winds of change that are blowing so strongly amongst Singaporeans, especially the young”.

The call for the revamp of the way politics are managed in Singapore is inevitable, and this is becoming more pressing especially after the 2010 general elections and the 2011 Presidential Elections when the ruling PAP, though still safely in power, nevertheless suffered strategic defeats in public perception as a party which could do no wrong.

The speakers will address these issues in Prelude to the Post-Lee Kuan Yew Era.      

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