This personal open letter to Mr JBJ from Dr Chee Soon Juan made me tearly when first read it. Then again it made me, when I was watching the rally speech video Dr Chee dedicated especially to his late comrade JBJ.
Both Mr JBJ and Dr Chee are patriots. They are real democracy and freedom fighters. Dr Chee reminds me very much of our own Anwar Ibrahim, whom he is already 200+ days languished in jail as a result of a political motivated sentence. Anwar has been fighting too since 1997, and still keep fighting from jail at the age of 68.
Dr Chee's grit, determination and persistent advocating for democracy, makes him a truly outstanding person in Singapore. He could have, like Anwar was once offered, a chance to live in exile and live a good life at overseas with his family.
He chose not to, but came back to Singapore and keep fighting for the people with the values he believes which are good for the society. Nowadays virtues , beliefs and principles hardly worth anything in a capitalist society which always seek to maximise profits and trade benefits. Therefore, these qualities are hard to come by. You will only see how determined one holds on to his/her beliefs and principles when the person is challenged and tested over time.
Dr Chee never gives up, despite numerous arrests made to his name. In the past 25 years, he was seen in and out of police stations, courts and jail. MSM tarnished his reputation and image , the authorities intended to destroy him personally. Even at his bleakest moment when he was sued and found guilty for the defamation suit until declared a bankrupcy, that did not take away his struggle and his will to speak up. He is a consistent proponent for democracy. He challenged unjust laws, and compassionately care for his people and the society.
(*Please watch the once-banned-documentary film about his struggles, entitled 'Singapore Rebel'. It was filmed a decade ago by Martyn See. Those quotes he said before, are still used by him until today. He is that consistent. That is why how sad I watched Mr. JBJ , together with many other previous opposition figures had to suffer from the ill and harsh-treatment by the state, and especially by the one 'great' man.)
People probably do not appreciate the values and the meaning of democracy and liberty until they get to fully enjoy that. After that, trust me, they will never want to go back to the one-party authoritarian state.
You can go ask any Indonesian, South Korean , Taiwanese and East German, no matter how prosperous were once their good old time under some of their past 'great' leaders, do they want to go back to the old system and give up their freedom and democratic spaces? I can assure, you will find a emphatic resounding 'No' as the reply.
Even the political parties in these countries inherited from the past, already transformed themselves into a democratic one. Still the pro-Suharto candidate for the last presidential election in Indonesia, Probowo Subianto, did not win. Jokowi is the real popular choice, a symbol of new politics.
I have reasons to believe that Dr Chee will support any democratic social movements in the world, including the Bersih movement. He will not paint Bersih 4.0 the same brush like Mr Lee Hsien Loong did this afternoon (Mr. Lee likened Bersih as a racial "non-Malay" rally to the upcoming 916 red-shirt rally). I also hope that Dr. Chee could speak up for Anwar and ask for his immediate release after the GE.
I wish him and his party all the best, and I hope to see them in the parliament of Singapore.