Date: November 24, 2012 (Saturday)
Time: 2pm until 4pm
Venue: Auditorium Francis Cheah in FECAM, The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
Strategic Information Research and Development Centre (SIRD) and KLSCAH-Civil Rights Committee (CRC) jointly organized the launch of SMOKESCREENS & MIRRORS: TRACING THE ‘MARXIST CONSPIRACY’ by Tan Wah Piow, and ESCAPE FROM THE LION’S PAW: REFLECTIONS OF SINGAPORE’S POLITICAL EXILES edited by Teo Soh Lung & Low Yit Leng.
We are pleased to have Mr. Tan Yew Sing & Dr. Kua Kia Soong to launch the books.
This launch will include a discussion panel on PRELUDE TO THE POST-LEE KUAN YEW ERA.
1) Mr. Tan Wah Piow, former student leader who fell on the wrong side of politics in Singapore. He was jailed in 1975. In 1976 he went into exile in the UK, where he now practices law. In 1987 Singapore accused him of being a “marxist” mastermind, an allegation he refutes in his book Smokescreens & Mirrors. Tan calls for a campaign to restart, rejuvenate and reclaim the Constitution.
2) Dr. G Raman is a prominent commercial and tax lawyer in Singapore who in 1974 made clear his sympathy for the students by acting as their legal advisor. He was involved as the defence lawyer when Tan Wah Piow and 2 other workers were persecuted on the frame-up charges of rioting. Dr Raman unsurprisingly was detained without trial in 1977 by Lee Kuan Yew. Despite his years of suffering under repression, he remains a sharp critic of the PAP government.
3) Dr. Wong Chin Huat, well known activist in the Malaysian Civil movement. He is a political scientist by training. He serves as a steering committee member of Bersih 2.0 He campaigns for electoral reform and civil and political rights. He also writes political commentaries for The Nut Graph, Selangor Times, Malaysiakini amongst others.
Ms. Maria Chin Abdullah, Women and Human rights activist and a steering committee member of BERSIH 2.0.
About the Books:
Smokescreens & Mirrors is not only a powerful rebuttal of the Singapore government’s allegations against Tan Wah Piow 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, 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 of other dissidents who had to run from LKY’s iron-fist rule. Among them, the late Francis Khoo, Miss Tang Fong Har, Ho Juan Thai, and Wah Piow’s colleague during the University days, Tsui Hon Kwong.
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.
Please grace the occasion with your presence and participate in the discussion.
Refreshments will be provided. Hope to see you there!
MS. LEE, the secretary assistant of KLSCAH (03-2274 6645)
LOKE (03-7957 8342 / 8343), [email protected]