I’ve had a bit of time this morning to look for more news items about Gopalan Nair – the blogger arrested and charged with defamation in Singapore now out on bail. Nothing in the New York Times or the Guardian. The Sydney Morning Herald is carrying the AFP wire story I referred to in an earlier post.
There’s some coverage in the Straits Times, which claims it is “independent” even though the government-owned investment company Singapore Holdings is the largest shareholder.
In the ST, under the headline “Ex-WP member charged for insulting judge in email”, Gopalan’s arrest was last covered on 2 June.
By Kor Kian Beng
A FORMER Workers’ Party member who is now an American citizen has been charged in court for insulting a public servant.
Gopalan Pallichadath Nair, 58, was charged for using insulting words towards High Court judge Belinda Ang in an email that he was believed to have sent to the judge last week.
In it, Nair accused Justice Ang of ‘prostituting herself’ as a judge during a three-day hearing last week to assess damages in a defamation suit that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew won against the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP), its secretary-general Dr Chee Soon Juan and his sister Ms Chee Siok Chin.
Nair copied the same email to many people, including the Attorney-General.
A new blogpost linking to the story:
Singapore Indian Voice calling for Nair to be freed
A group of activists (including myself, Seelan Palay) and SDP members gathered outside the Central Police Station at Cantonment Road and held a vigil for Mr Gopalan Nair who is under detention for allegedly sending emails insulting the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General.
The Singapore blogosphere is also interesting, as you might expect it is heavily monitored by security agencies, as is nearly every aspect of Singapore life. On Chia Ti Lik‘s website there are damaging comments about his personal life that may have been posted to discredit him.
Although Mr Chia writes very eloquently in his blog about leadership and human rights, I believe his integrity and honesty as a man of character is questionable. The “domestic turmoil” he wrote about in his post entitled: “A little bet I placed with myself”, refers to a breakdown in his marriage due to him committing adultry with a married woman who has 2 young children.
Ouch, that’s gotta hurt, but Chia left it up, so I’m assuming it’s true. This from Chia’s “About Me”:
In Singapore, and especially in opposition politics, one needs to grow an extremely thick skin. I have always prided myself for that, being small yet thick skinned. And why not?
To be a politician, one must be thick-skinned enough to step forward. Be willing to speak of things that are not so nice to hear. To persons whom many people in their sane minds would not want getting into their bad books.
But most of all be willing to speak when one feels right without the fear of being shown to be wrong.
It does certainly take courage to speak out against the regime in Singapore and Chia draws parallels with recent events in Burma.
I am a bit surprised this story hasn’t got wider coverage given that it’s topical and not that far away.