Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Police investigating MRT ‘silent’ protest

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Activists in Singapore stage silent protest to commemorate 30-year anniversary of Operation Spectrum. Image via Jolovan Wham

SINGAPOREAN police are investigating a “silent” protest which reportedly took place on a Mass Rail Transit (MRT) train on Saturday, local reports said.

According to Channel News Asia, the authorities confirmed they were looking into the case after a police report was lodged on the matter.

On Saturday, a group of demonstrators reportedly gathered in an MRT train to protest against a series of arrests and detentions that took place 30 years ago under the Internal Security Act.

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Function 8 Statement (6 June 2017)

In 1987, many of the detainees of Operation Spectrum suffered assaults, cold-room interrogations, severe sleep deprivation and solitary confinement for a fabricated conspiracy. Perpetrators of that violence included employees of the State. These are detailed in a recent Function 8 publication, 1987: Operation Spectrum 30 Years On.

We deeply regret that citizens who were reading this book and chose to express their views publicly against the abuses of Operation Spectrum are to be subjected to police investigation.

It is deplorable that there are people who try to muzzle those who want the truth—calling for justice for those who suffered detention without trial. All the more lamentable that this is happening in Singapore, a country that takes pride in being a First World nation.

related: Debunking a 30-year-old Conspiracy

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Police looking into silent protest on MRT train
A group of about seven people were seen riding a train on the North-South Line while holding copies of the book & wearing blindfolds in a silent protest. FOTO: FACEBOOK / JOLOVAN WHAM

The police are looking into an alleged protest on an MRT train on Sat (Jun 3).

This follows a police report which was lodged after a group was seen protesting against the detentions under the Internal Security Act (ISA) 30 years ago.

In 1987, 22 activists were arrested under Operation Spectrum for being part of what the Government called a Marxist plot aimed at overthrowing it.

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Police looking into alleged protest on board MRT train
Blindedfolded activists holding up a book titled "1987: Singapore's Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On" on board an MRT train. (Foto: Jolovan Wham/Facebook) 

Police are looking into an alleged protest on board an MRT train on Sat (Jun 3) after a police report was lodged about the event.

The event was staged to protest against detentions under the Internal Security Act which took place in 1987. 22 people were arrested during Operation Spectrum that year for allegedly plotting a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the Government.

Saturday's incident saw blindfolded activists holding up a book titled 1987: Singapore's Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On, which was launched last month by those detained under Operation Spectrum.

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Police looking into protest in MRT, calling for information
Social activist Jolovan Wham shared photos of the protest on his FaceBook page, which have since been circulated online

A police report has been lodged against a protest on Saturday (Jun 3) on an MRT train, & the police have confirmed that they are looking into the matter.

The demonstration was staged against detentions that had happened 30 years ago under the Internal Security Act.

In May 1987, 22 people were arrested in Operation Spectrum & were accused of being involved in a Marxist conspiracy to establish a communist state.

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Police report lodged against MRT protest staged by social activists over the weekend

On Saturday (June 3), you may have boarded an MRT train and seen a couple blindfolded individuals holding up a book titled 1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On. The protest was reportedly a 30th anniversary commemoration of Operation Spectrum, where 22 people were arrested under the Internal Security Act in 1987 for allegedly plotting a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the government.

After last month’s book launch by ex-detainees, social activists staged a silent protest on the North-South Line, and the images have been circulating online over the weekend.

A police report has been lodged (because of course) about the event, so if you have information you’d like to share with the police, do so online.

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Singapore police investigate blindfolded activists with books on a train
Under strict public assembly laws, protests are only allowed at a designated downtown square. — Reuters pic
Under strict public assembly laws, protests are only allowed at a designated downtown square. — Reuters pic

Singapore police said today they were investigating a protest by several blindfolded activists who held up books on a subway train in a call for justice for 22 people detained in 1987 under a tough internal security law.

The activists held copies of a recently published book 1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On on Saturday while sitting on a train in a rare protest in the tightly controlled city-state.

“The police confirm that a report has been lodged and are looking into the matter. Anyone with information can submit it online,” police said in a emailed statement.

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Activists stage rare demonstration against ISA detentions of 1987 in Singapore MRT

Social activist Jolovan Wham shared in his Facebook several pictures of a demonstration which happened in an MRT train. The demonstrators were protesting the Internal Security Act detentions of 1987, framed as “Marxist Conspiracy to overthrow the Government” by the authorities. The demonstrators stood blindfolded in the train with signs posted behind them, on the window of the train. They also held up a book titled, ‘1987: Singapore’s Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On‘, and pretended to read.

A netizen who responded to journalist Kirsten Han’s Facebook post of the protest remarked that it looked well planned. Others chided the demonstrators for taking their protest to the MRT trains.

Facebook user Soh Yong Bin Matthew said that the purpose of the MRT is “to move people (and) not move people’s mind.

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Police looking into MRT protest by blindfolded commuters to highlight 1987 detention

The Singapore police are looking into an incident on the North South Line MRT train on Saturday, June 3.

This was after a police report has been lodged against what looked like a silent protest on the train.

Photos of the protest originated from social activist Jolovan Wham, who shared the images on his Facebook page.

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Activists protest on MRT to show solidarity for ISA detainees

A group of activists took to the trains to protest the horrendous treatment that the Singapore government meted out upon 22 individuals who were detained 30 years ago under an operation that was entitled,"Operation Spectrum"  with the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA).

After their arrest on 21 May 1987, the ISA detainees were subjected to ill-treatment, humiliation, and manipulated television appearances by the Internal Security Department. Under duress, and threatened with indefinite imprisonment without trial, forcing the detainees to make statutory declarations against their will.

The protest that was held on Saturday afternoon (3 June), was in the form of a silent demonstration with the activists holding a book, "1987 Singapore's Marxist Conspiracy, 30 Years On." and blindfolds on, briefly along the North-South Line.

related: TODAY's interesting post to announce police investigation into MRT protest

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Singapore’s Farenheit 451 without book burning?


With the Singapore police investigating a protest by several blindfolded activists who held up books on a subway train, a sudden recall of Fahrenheit 451 comes to mind.

Singapore police said on Monday they were investigating activists whose actions were a call for justice for 22 people detained in 1987 under a tough internal security law. In a dystopian future or (past?) world, this would be perfectly normal.

But in 2017 when the internet is king?

related: Activists stage rare demonstration ISA detentions of 1987 in Spore MRT

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1987: Untracing the Conspiracy
untracing 3
Debunking a 30-year-old Conspiracy

30 years on, details of the Internal Security arrests codenamed Operation Spectrum have only just come to light, first in Teo Soh Lung’s book, Beyond the Blue Gate, and more recently, in Jason Soo’s film, 1987: Untracing the Conspiracy.

The documentary can be viewed on Youtube.

On the 30th anniversary of this event which had a chilling effect on Singapore’s civil society, we would like to invite you to join us in an endeavor for restorative justice and reconciliation.

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To Singapore, with Love 星国恋

Sitting on a porch in Kuala Lumpur, Dr. Ang Swee Chai recalls that in 1977, when her husband Francis Khoo’s arrest was imminent, she had suggested that they get married – “that way I could at least visit him in jail”. Soon after their swift wedding, amidst threat of arrest and indefinite incarceration, they fled Singapore. Decades later, reality loomed. “It dawned on me that I was going to die alone in London… I want to be in 100A Upper Serangoon Road,” she says softly. Swee Chai has returned to Singapore just once — on a single-entry permit, carrying her husband’s ashes.

The men and women in Tan Pin Pin’s To Singapore, with Love are courteous in their painful recounting of the circumstances that forced them to leave their country of birth – four, maybe five decades ago. They instantly remember their dates of departure – long ago now. Their stories are factual, fragile and yet wistful. A lifetime of pent up yearning and loss has surprisingly not left them despondent. The grace and detail of their spirited, candid narratives taped conversationally at home, on streets and in offices, make this film intimate and engaging. True to Ms. Pin’s oeuvre, there are no gratuitous mood shots in this film; superfluous music is not necessary to pull at our heartstrings – the clear, penetrating words suffice.

“I knew that they had to get rid of me,” says the professorial, Oxford educated lawyer Tan Wah Piow, in a matter-of fact tone. He left Singapore after serving a jail term of one-year for blowing the whistle on what what he perceived as gross labour injustice. During that time he saw the forcible and complete dismantling of the university student union he had been an integral part of.


Related:
Operation Coldstore: The evidence is clear, says PM
Debunking a 30-year-old Conspiracy
In Memory of 1987
Historian Thum Pingtjin speaking on the Operation Spectrum
The Past, Present and Future of the Internal Security Act
MARUAH petition for Commission of Inquiry on alleged Marxist Conspiracy
Unravelling 1987: What did the Communists say about Operation Coldstore?
They do say the darnest things: What a to-do about Operation Coldstore
Gov’t insists Operation Coldstore not politically motivated
S'pore responds to allegations by ex-detainee Poh Soo Kai on Op Coldstore
Reponse to Poh Soo Kai’s allegations
Reluctance to open official records discredits govt’s rebuttal on ISA detainees
Democracy & human rights in deep freeze: the legacy of Operation Cold Store
HARD TRUTHS - Too Hard To Swallow
Remembering 1987 'Marxist Conspiracy'
Operation Spectrum - Wikipedia
The Marxist conspiracy · ‎The Catholic Church and the State
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Singapore Rebel : 23 years after Operation Spectrum : Ex-detainees
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Remembering the Marxist conspiracy - If Only Singaporeans Stopped
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That We May Dream Again ( In Search of Justice : The 25th
1987: UNTRACING THE CONSPIRACY | The Projector
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Activists protest on MRT to show solidarity for ISA detainees.
operation spectrum | The Online Citizen
Operation Spectrum - YouTube
30 years on, it's time for the truth about Operation Spectrum
Remembering 1987 'Marxist Conspiracy'
Singapore Rebel : 23 years after Operation Spectrum : Ex-detainees
R21 rating for film on Marxist Conspiracy - TODAYonline
"Operation Spectrum, also known as the... - Singapore Heritage
The 'Marxist Conspiracy' and Me: The Ghost of Operation Spectrum
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ex Chersonesus Aurea: Dr Vincent Wijeysingha: Lies of the "Marxist
Operation Spectrum | Singapore Public Law
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1987: Singapore's Marxist Conspiracy 30 Years On – Ethos Books
Alvinology operation spectrum Archives - Alvinology
Operation Coldstore - Wikipedia
Background and contexts · ‎Developments leading to Operation Coldstore
Special Branch mounts Operation Coldstore - Singapore History
Revisiting Operation Coldstore, Opinion News & Top Stories.
What Really Went Down In Operation Cold Store - Must Share News
Operation Coldstore: The evidence is clear, says PM, Singapore News
S'pore's 50th anniversary - time to have open dialogue on Operation
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CO15036 | Revisiting Operation Coldstore: Deconstructing the
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