This is a from-the-heart response to a status update posted by Vivian Balakrishnan on his Facebook page.
Dear Mr Balakrishnan,
I am touched by your statement on how Dr Lim Hock Siew inspired and influenced you to join politics, as well as your cordial friendship with him over the past 24 years. Lim Hock Siew was a good and honourable man. But more than that, he was a patriot. A patriot who never wavered in his belief that all men should be treated fair and equal. For his peaceful activities, however, he was incarcerated for over 20 years, missing out the prime of his life and the times he could have spent with his growing son and wife.
Agreeing to disagree is gracious behaviour expected in a democracy. Yet, one thing we must all defend in a democracy is another person’s entitlement to his or her rights, even if we strongly disagreed with them. Dr Lim’s sacrifices were not brought upon him through any fault of his own. Rather, they were brought about through the abuses of the ISA, which, decade after decade in Singapore’s history, has been used to silence and intimidate political opponents and dissent.
Even after all he’s been through, he was still willing to forgive his oppressors and had no feeling of bitterness to them. I can especially relate to this, as a Christian, as Jesus has taught us to “love your enemies”. Indeed, here was a good and honourable man worthy of our respect. But merely singing Dr Lim’s praises is not enough; Dr Lim wouldn’t have wanted this. We must, sooner than later, address the issue of the injustices caused by a law which has no place in a just and equal society. We must not be silent on this grave issue, as to do so would only affirm that Dr Lim deserved all that he went through. Regardless of whether we are in the ruling party or opposition, this is an issue which we all have to stand united on. For it isn’t about partisanship or the disagreement of policies anymore, this has to do with our very own morality.
Last Saturday, I attended an event at Speakers’ Corner calling for the abolishment of the ISA. Dr Lim Hock Siew wasn’t the only one unjustly incarcerated, plenty of others were, too. We, as sons of this country, all have a part to play in reconciling these detainees and removing the ISA, so that we may yet dream again of a more caring and just society which respects the dignity and rights of every person for future generations to come. Thank you and God bless you.
An 18 year old Singaporean
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