Author Archives: Jess C Scott

About Jess C Scott

Author/Artist/Non-Conformist @ www.jessINK.com

A Note About…Mystery Man

Some of you may have noticed that I have been considerably slower this year with writing, blogging, and general social media activities.

The reasons are both personal and professional. On the personal level, I got into a challenging (i.e. long distance) yet fulfilling relationship with Mystery Man at the end of 2012. This has had a profound influence on my outlook on life.

Professionally, as an independent publisher, a number of my books in the “erotica” or “erotic fiction” genre have been systematically banned or deleted by retailers because they deem the content obscene or offensive. I have exhausted all avenues to educate them on the differences between porn and quality sexual literature, but to no avail. Nonetheless I will continue to advocate for recognition of this literary genre through my website and blog articles. Stay tuned for an upcoming feature with expert opinions of several (very interesting) guest contributors.

At the same time, I continue to have divergent interests — most notably in my intense interest in both the good and evil aspects of human nature. Thus I am likely to continue working in the psychological thriller genre, and plan out some material in the “contemporary love stories / women’s fiction” genre (I am likely to use a new pen name for this because the tone of the projects will be quite different from my earlier material). On the non-fiction side, there are many more topics I’d like to cover with socio-political blogging, an activity which helps keep my thoughts — and prose — sharp, focused and concise.

I would like to thank everyone who has emailed me / read my work / been following me on social media over the years. I have always liked listening to the personal stories people share as it continually enriches my outlook on life and human relationships. This, along with my own personal experiences, is bound to influence my upcoming projects (as well as those on the back burner).

I will end this post with the wise words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who defined success in a simple life well lived as:

“To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to learn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a little bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

P.S. The irony (or “poetic justice”) is that I met Mystery Man during a writing event discussing: Sexuality in Literature! I offer my eternal thanks and gratitude to The Arts House for organising the event(s) in the first place…

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Avatars of me and Mystery Man created via Avachara.


NLB: Censorship and Intellectual Freedom

“And Tango Makes Three” is a children’s picture book which features the true story of two male penguins that raised a baby chick in a New York zoo.

Here is my short commentary on the Singapore National Library Board’s (NLB) recent actions to destroy three books (including the aforementioned title) that were deemed unsuitable for young children, because of “non-traditional” family themes.

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Image by Nam Y. Huh/AP

I would like to take this opportunity to direct NLB to the American Library Association’s (ALA) page on censorship and freedom of information.

In a Q&A on these subjects, the ALA states:

“Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas.”

U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas considered the “restriction of free thought and free speech” to be “the most dangerous of all subversions.”

It does not take great imagination to understand why.

We need look no further than the comments of Young Artist Award recipient, Cyril Wong, who said:

“As a queer writer, I think I have reached a limit of some sort, in the light or dark of recent events. I don’t know why I’m bothering anymore. By sometime next year, I’m just going to stop; yes, stop publishing, stop working with governmental organisations, even stop writing.”

Justifying the removal of books because they “do not reflect existing social norms” provides me with some questions to ponder.

Is a person less of a human being because of their sexual orientation?

Does a perpetually bitter, jealous married wife promote more “family values” than a single mother who dedicates all of her time and energy towards providing the best for her family?

How is a public library serving the needs of the public if members of the public are only allowed to peruse publications that reflect the social norms of only one group or community, at the exclusion of all others?

When people are not allowed to think for themselves or express their views, their voices are effectively silenced. Their self-identity is compromised along with the likelihood of having an authentic dialogue with other human beings.

And it’s too late for society once people don’t have a voice, or are prevented from being heard if they do.

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More Information:

(Singapore Media)

Author Justin Richardson responds to NLB removing his book (The Online Citizen)
Author Jeanie Okimoto responds to NLB removing her book (The Online Citizen)
NLB CEO saddened by protests against gay book pulping (Everything Also Complain)
Ink Spilled on NLB Book Banning (Extensive collection of links by Robin Rheaume / Facebook)

(International Media)

Singapore Provokes Outrage by Pulping Kids’ Books (TIME)
“And Tango Makes Three” appears routinely on the ALA’s annual list of most “challenged” books (Wikipedia)
What Does Singapore Have Against Gay Penguins? (The Washington Post)
Love That Dare Not Squeak Its Name (on homosexual behaviour in animals; New York Times)


The Importance of Preserving Cultural Heritage

I am currently reading The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, which is recognised as one of the essential classics of modern Russian literature.

This led me to think about two of my favourite books of all time — Lolita and Anna Karenina, by Vladimir Nabokov and Leo Tolstoy respectively.

I read these two books when I was in my early twenties (I read the second one while recovering from a massive wisdom teeth operation that I thought I would not survive).

Reading the material made me respect the cultural heritage of Russia — that their citizens produced such profound and renowned works of art/literature earned my everlasting admiration, awe, and respect.

Due to my interest in Russia, I was watching a TV documentary on Moscow a few days ago. While Moscow looks very modern, what struck me in the TV programme was that buildings such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral were still standing tall and proud.

St_Basils_Cathedral

Saint Basil’s Cathedral (1555–61) is a magnificent showcase of Renaissance Russian architecture.

The Moscow Metro itself is a lesson in the nation’s history and architecture. For instance, Soviet art can be viewed at Kievskaya Metro Station, one of the original stations built in the 1930s.

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Kievskaya Metro Station, Moscow

In other words, buildings and sites that are part of the country’s national and cultural heritage were not demolished, but preserved for future generations.

A quick search for the national monuments of various countries comes up with the following results via Google Images:

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1. Sun & Moon Pagodas | Historic Pagodas of China

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3. Punakha Tshechu | History of Bhutan

Devils_Tower

4. Devils Tower | the first declared US national monument

Malacca

5. Christ Church, Malacca | Malaysia

The Merlion is a well-known icon of Singapore.

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The Merlion at Sentosa

What I noticed on this page titled Sentosa: 10 Years Back, was one of the blog comments:

“Really thankful to have found this post too. Very similar sentiments although I’m an 96-er and probably didn’t see as much of Sentosa’s developments as you. But thank you for capturing my childhood memories with this post. I really miss the old Sentosa…”
~ Nostalgia Girl

A few months ago, I remembered coming across a Yahoo article titled 22 Incredible Before and After Pictures that Reveal the Transformation of Singapore.

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The Original Cathay Cinema in 1955

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New Cathay

While I enjoyed looking at the before-and-after photos, the comments on the article reveal some very real sentiments that were not reflected in the article’s text.

Here are some of the comments:

(1) “Looks like a showcase of how SG decayed over the years. I saw rustic charms and quality workmanship then but now I see prefabs and get rich quick [schemes]. I will pass.” ~ Charles

(2) “Is this another self-praising about how great the PAP is while omitting the lives, assets they robbed from the people. Getting ready for 2016 election? Example: Anson was demolished after losing election and replaced with hotels. Splashing money on renovation every 5 years followed by price hike. Endless upgrades with ZERO value when lease expires.”
~ Wealthy Assets

(3) “I see the quantity of change, but not the quality of betterment.”
~ Andrew

(4) “Now, it is true that, infrastructure wise, Singapore is way better than 50 years ago. However, the ability to save, the cost of living and the social problems facing today, is in dire need of a reform. Compared to the 80s and 90s, [Singapore] is not as charming.”
~ SashaQ

(5) “Singapore’s ONLY transformation is ‘tear and build‘. And the ONLY thing they can build is CONDO and SHOPPING MALLS.”
~ Dante

The following extract describes the importance of “heritage preservation”:

“Heritage Preservation is the protection and enhancement of buildings, sites, districts, structures, objects, and significant natural features that connect a community to its past. . .preserving the community’s heritage fosters civic pride in the beauty and accomplishments of our past. Protection and enhancement of historic buildings and sites is a necessary component of the social and economic prosperity of a community.”
~ City of La Crosse, WI

It is my hope that “economic prosperity” won’t be the only words that current and future leaders of Singapore will take note of, should they happen to read the above paragraph.


Book Review: Beyond Suspicion

beyond_suspicion

Towards the end of Once a Jolly Hangman, Alan Shadrake shares some details about his arrest in Singapore. There is one paragraph where he says:

“Was I in danger of being arrested? I consulted well-known Singaporean Francis T. Seow, a former president of the Law Society. His advice: as long as it’s all correct, you have nothing to fear.”

We can thus hold Francis Seow to his word, in the sense that the research in his book, Beyond Suspicion? is based on facts, not fiction. This was yet another book that I would have thought was a tragicomical political movie script or novel, had I not already been familiar with some of the well-known, real life members of the cast.

As the former solicitor-general of Singapore, Francis T. Seow was one of LKY’s right-hand men — the top man after the attorney general (the attorney general being the principal legal officer who represents a country in legal proceedings and gives legal advice to the government).

The publication’s core strength lies in Francis Seow’s references to a complete set of court documents to present his points. That this book is written in a vibrant, intellectually lively style makes it both an educational and entertaining read. For example, Francis Seow doesn’t simply use the word “corrupted” to describe Singapore politics — he describes it as “a dirty gladiatorial game [that's] also dangerous.”

No time is wasted with giving the reader a bit of background information on Yong Pung How (“an old crony from Lee’s college days”), who became the chief justice of Singapore in 1990. This happened despite the fact that Yong never actually practiced law in Singapore. To paraphrase an insider’s quote, “no judge [in Singapore] who values his rice bowl” would dare go against his political masters’ expectations when it comes to political court cases.

Amnesty International underscored the “notoriety of Lee and his government’s use of defamation laws to stifle the opposition via compliant courts.” Garry Rodin, Director of the Asia Research Centre from 2002-2009, wrote about “the PAP’s manic desire to crush the slightest semblance of serious scrutiny” in his blurb on the back cover of the book. These quotes further illustrate the extent of the politicization of the judiciary.

Even when armed with this knowledge, the reader will still come across an array of mind-boggling dialogue and logic-defying actions (thanks to the PAP leaders of the time), through Francis Seow’s intense presentation of the case involving Tang Liang Hong.

Tang’s “crime” was questioning the Lees’ controversial purchases with the Nassim Jade properties, and asking why the matter wasn’t handed over to a professional body like Commercial Affairs Department or Corrupt Practice Investigation Bureau.

In Tang’s own words:

“[The CAD or CPIB] are government departments. . .well-known for being [firm and impartial]. They would be more detached and their reports would have been more convincing to the people.”

The real crime is that Tang Liang Hong was in opposition politics, an individual whom the PAP elite recognized “as an immediate threat to their electoral prospects in the Cheng San GRC” during the 1997 General Election. Back in 1981, LKY once dismissed the value of a political opposition as being “irrelevant.” How can someone or something be a threat and irrelevant at the same time?

The rest of the chapters give a detailed account of the political gangsterism and character assassination Tang Liang Hong experienced. One would think that the text was describing the bullying that occurs in a children’s playground, and not the behaviour of highly-ranked politicians in a court of law.

We are shown how The Straits Times provided coverage that was “more favourable to the PAP leaders than reports from foreign journalists,” and how Tang Liang Hong was branded by PAP leaders as an “anti-Christian, anti-English-educated Chinese chauvinist,” with Goh Chok Tong taunting Tang as a “coward and a liar.”

As if these obnoxious epithets were insufficient, LKY likened Tang Liang Hong to “a serial killer” during an hour and a half monologue in court. LKY and his “PAP digits” were “like ravenous hyenas in a feeding frenzy” when they demanded a grand total of S$12.9 million for the lawsuits over Tang’s remarks on the Nassim Jade purchases, along with his other actions.

Other memorable gems include the Singapore government misusing taxpayers’ funds to support a private quarrel, LKY’s comments on how J.B. Jeyaretnam — who represented Tang Liang Hong in court — should be “skinned alive like a skunk,” and Wong Kan Seng, then the leader of the House, “loyally leaping to the patriarch’s rescue” when LKY made a grave and thoroughly unsupported allegation that Tang was backed by people who wished to destroy Singapore. There are plenty of other juicy details which I can’t include in a book review, though I will endeavour to feature bits and pieces in future articles.

The nature of the PAP leaders involved in this dreadful fiasco can be seen in the final outcome of Tang’s case. All the charges against Tang were dropped when the main property asset of the Tangs was no longer worth as much, due to the Asian financial crisis and other factors (and therefore less of a boon than the PAP leaders had originally hoped for, in terms of being awarded their millions in damages).

After all the litigation costs, mental/emotional distress, and disruption caused to him and his family, Tang was declared a bankrupt, so that he could not hold any political position in Singapore and directly partake in politics. Tang himself succinctly described the law in Singapore as being an unequal struggle, and “a test of financial strength, not of legal arguments.”

As a June 1997 editorial by The New York Times wrote:

“Singapore’s leaders are masters at using libel suits in a compliant court system to silence or intimidate their domestic opponents. . .”

The purpose of books like Beyond Suspicion is not to ridicule or be derisive. It is to expose flaws in a political party or system, and provide a record of history. Note that on Page 241, it is mentioned that one of the legal documents to do with Tang Liang Hong was ordered by Justice Chao Hick Tin to be destroyed — at the request of LKY, via his counsel, Davinder Singh. Who knows what else has been requested to be destroyed?

Another purpose is for future generations to remember what this party has done to opposition members whom they viewed as a threat. Were the opposition members viewed as a threat to Singapore; good governance; or to the PAP’s own stronghold of political power?

If leaders are wise and less arrogant, they would seek to produce less scripted videos which appear to be more propaganda-inspired than patriotically inspired. Instead, they would seek to learn from mistakes of the past — and make genuine amends — so that they can prove to current voters/citizens why they should still be in office, as well as justify their high salaries drawn from taxpayers’ dollars.

In the context of Singapore’s political scene, it is only by the party’s own words and actions that they make the choice to be regarded as the “People’s Action Party,” or a “Perpetually Arrogant Party.”

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More Information:

Beyond Suspicion? (Amazon.com)
Book Depository (Free Shipping)
TLH Legal Saga | SW S’poreans Appeal (Singapore Window)
Yale University / Monograph 55 (Publisher)
Beyond Suspicion by Dr. Michael Barr (Book Review)
Francis Seow (Wikipedia)
Francis Seow (Profile)
Francis Seow: The Interview (YouTube; where a certain “bosom pal and crony of LKY” is mentioned, and much more)


Book Review: Once A Jolly Hangman

once_a_jolly_hangman* Also on The Online Citizen and The Real SG.

The contents of this well-researched book were so depraved and disturbing, that it took me several weeks to (1) finish reading the book in its entirety, and (2) gather my thoughts about it in order to write a cohesive review.

I would have thought that the book was a work of fiction were it not for the ‘non-fiction’ label at the back of the book in the print version.

Back in 2013, former ISD director Mr. Yoong Siew Wah mentioned “the callousness of the Singapore government” on his blog.

This callous and insensitive aspect that is completely lacking in any compassion for humanity, is certainly apparent in Once A Jolly Hangman. The title alone points to the bizarre nature of the system, where the macabre act of hanging a human being is undertaken with joy as if it were a festive occasion and cause for celebration.

Perhaps the most morbid fact mentioned is the “Death Row Diet.”

As it says in the book, “Beyond the walls of Changi Prison hanged prisoners’ organs are worth tens of thousands of dollars each.”

As if this fact of profiting from dead prisoners’ bodies were not deplorable enough, the prisoners on death row who sign the consent form to donate their organs for transplant or research are put on a special regime known as the Death Row Diet. This diet consists of high-quality, nutritious food to “ensure the organs are in perfect condition for transplant after they are hanged.”

Is this not a form of ultimate exploitation of human life, where one profits handsomely from the dead and forgotten?

The other thoroughly disgusting component of the book has to do with the racial bias of the elites. The author, Alan Shadrake, structures the book around several real-life accounts to show how people with money and the right connections have the means to prevent themselves from being executed by the state. If you’re poor, uneducated, or of an undesirable race (or, to phrase it a little better, your skin colour is not the right one), yours is the “pitiful, hopeless situation” where even the innocent may end up being executed.

Alan Shadrake went to jail because of this book — for contempt by scandalising the court. A scandal can be defined as an action or event regarded as morally or legally wrong and causing general public outrage. How is the author scandalising the court when his book is based on scandalous facts?

What Alan Shadrake did with this book was to give the deceased a human face, since their lives weren’t worth anything to the Singapore authorities (apart from what could be gained from their organs, post-mortem). This further highlights the hypocrisy of Changi Prison’s motto.

I didn’t even know Changi Hilton — I mean, Changi Prison — had a motto until reading this book. That motto is:

“Captains of Lives: Rehab, Renew, Restart.”

From their own website:

“RENEW is a commitment an inmate makes to change his/her life for the better. Through the CARE Network, our offenders are given opportunities to restart their lives.”

Renew? Restart? Tell that to the families of Flor Contemplacion, Angel Mou Pui-Peng, Amara Tochi, Shanmugam Murugesu (a Tamil Singaporean former jet ski champion and army regular), Nguyen Van Tuong, Vignes Mourthi, and countless others who were executed in Singapore for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, without the riches or powerful connections to help them out of their dire situation. Or to the family members of Huizuan with regard to her tragic death in Changi Women’s Prison in 2011, which could have been avoided if more care had been shown by the prison staff in her medical condition before her death.

What is even worse is that Changi Prison sends out a letter to the families of the individual on death row informing them of when the execution will take place — a letter which has that same motto emblazoned on the bottom of the page.

This was truly one of the most despicable and morbid books I’ve ever read. It reveals a darker side which the authorities would likely prefer to keep hidden beneath the country’s veneer of justice, cleanliness and efficiency.

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More Information:

Once A Jolly Hangman (Amazon.com)
Book Depository (Free Shipping)
Wikipedia | Guardian UK | Interview (Author: Alan Shadrake)
Murdoch Books / Pier 9 (Publisher)


Blog Hop: The Writing Process

joe_perrone

Joe Perrone Jr.

Thanks so much to Joe Perrone Jr. for inviting me to this Blog Hop on the Writing Process.

Joe Perrone Jr. was the first author to be interviewed on this blog!

Joe’s Bio: Joe Perrone Jr. worked as a sportswriter for the Passaic-Clifton, NJ, Herald News, as well as a freelance advertising copywriter. Joe was also a professional fly-fishing guide for ten years in the Catskill Mountains of New York, and has had several fly-fishing short stories published in the Mid Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide. The author is perhaps best known for his Matt Davis Mystery Series. Roscoe — “Trout Town USA” — serves as the setting for Joe’s books in the Matt Davis Mysteries series.

Joe’s Links: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

* * *

The idea of this blog tour is to introduce readers to new authors. I have been asked to answer 4 questions about my writing process and then tag 3-4 more authors.

Here are my answers to the questions:

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Selfie: BCBG shoes

JESS’S WRITING PROCESS

1. What am I working on?

I am currently blogging about Singapore’s political history.

On the creative writing side, I most recently completed The Wilde Twins (a psych thriller series featuring serial killer evil twins).

I have several other projects to get to…

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

wilde_twins

The Wilde Twins (Trilogy) | Jess C Scott

I will let readers decide on that. I like to study the work of people whom I admire and learn from them (whether it’s to do with writing, or something else).

3. Why do I write what I do?

Because I enjoy original stories and seeking the truth.

4. How does my writing process work?

I usually have some kind of plan or (quite comprehensive) outline. If not I tend to waste a lot of time trying to fix details along the way.

Hot chamomile tea helps me stay nice and relaxed while writing/editing.

My Links: jessINK | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

* * *

Authors I have Tagged:

I’ve tagged fellow authors Maria Savva, Edward Giles Brown, Matt Posner, and Katherine Mayfield.

I’m very happy to introduce you to these authors, so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to.

On Twitter, you can follow the various blogs in this tour via the hashtag #MyWritingProcess

maria_savva_hs(1) Maria Savva

Maria Savva lives and works in London. She studied Law at Middlesex University and The College of Law. She is a lawyer, although not currently practising law. She has published five novels, the most recent of which is Haunted, a crime fiction/psychological thriller. Far Away In Time is her sixth collection of short stories.

Maria’s Links: Website | Maria’s Writing Process | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon

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(2) Edward Giles Brown

Edward Giles Brown is the author of 365 Days of Verse, a sonnet collection containing a sonnet written every day for a year, and The Sacrifice, a five act play.

He’s currently revising 365 Days of verse and will eventually release a single-volume second edition. He is currently seeking work in Hong Kong.

Edward’s Links: WebsiteTwitter | Amazon | YouTube | Writing Process

matt_posner(3) Matt Posner

Matt Posner is my highly motivated and industrious co-author on the book, Teen Guide!

This is Matt’s bio from the Teen Guide to Sex and Relationships page:

Matt is an NYC teacher who’s willing to make controversial statements that he thinks are in your best interest. In his own words, Teen Guide “explains what mature, adult sexuality is and provides a useful guide to entering that sexual world at the right time.”

Matt is also the author of the School of the Ages series (an urban fantasy for ages 12 and up).

Matt’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

Katherine Mayfield(4) Katherine Mayfield

A former actress who appeared Off-Broadway and on the daytime drama Guiding Light, Katherine Mayfield is the author of the award-winning memoir, The Box of Daughter: Healing the Authentic Self; Bullied (a guide to recovery for teens and adults who have been bullied); and Dysfunctional Families: The Truth Behind the Happy Family Facade.

She has written for numerous local and national publications, and appears regularly with the Portsmouth Athenæum’s Wednesday Writers’ Series in Portsmouth, NH. She teaches writing workshops and classes in Maine, provides coaching and editing for other writers, and enjoys using her acting skills and love of words to record audiobooks.

Katherine’s Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads | Writing Process


Excerpts from What Singapore Means to Me, by Devan Nair

Transcribed by Jess C Scott from Not By Wages Alone (Selected Speeches and Writings of Devan Nair, 1959-1981).

Full article at Singapore Repository.

* * *

Excerpts from “What Singapore Means to Me” (1981)
by Devan Nair

devan_nair

Devan Nair:
Istana File Photo

(1) Presidents and Heads of State are expected to be nice and gracious to everybody. My doctors tell me that this will be good for my health. I have no doubt that it will also be good for my soul.

(2) I do not know what you feel when Majulah Singapura is sung on National Day. . .I struggle against tears of pride as I mentally scan the last 40 years. I know it is difficult for the younger generation of Singaporeans to appreciate the reasons.

(3) The difference between my generation and theirs is simply this: We were not merely ready to die for our beliefs. Many of us expected to die, whether in communal riots, or from the bullets and knives of communist assassins.

(4) Reading about hell, war, unemployment, imprisonment and riots in cold print is one thing. Living through hell, war, unemployment, riots and imprisonment is quite another.

(5) I remember how, during the bloody Hock Lee Bus riots in 1954, a student, hit by a stray police bullet, could have been saved. . .but communist united front cadres took the bleeding student on their shoulders and paraded him around the city. . .four hours later, [when] he was taken to hospital, he was already dead.

(6) It would be wrong to assume that there is nothing at all you can obtain from the founding generation of Singaporeans. There are certain constants in our collective social life, the preservation of which will ensure that the core of our society will not be corrupted by dry rot.

(7) These constants are the standards and values we rigorously subscribe to in our private and public lives, [which] include intelligence, [honesty] and integrity, social justice and fair play.

(8) More enduring and much harder to gain than popularity, is public respect.

(9) Moments of truth are devastating, for both individuals and nations, because they often come too late. The only way to avoid them, for leaders and citizens alike, is to try and be sincerely truthful all the time.

(10) I hope and pray [these standards] will remain some of the constants in our public life. You will jettison them only at grave social peril. You may exceed these standards and values. But it will be a betrayal of our people and their future if you settle for anything lower.

(11) If the future is to be secured, young persons of dedication, intelligence and ability should not shirk the responsibilities of leadership in the institutions of public life.

(12) In other countries, selfish clinging to power and office on the part of the ageing have been impediments in the path of able and intelligent members of the younger generation.

(13) The most obstinate stupidity in the world is that of old men who forget that they are mortal.

(14) The right to lead is not transferable. Leadership must be justified, deserved and won.

(15) In a democratic society, the instruments of leadership cannot be acquired through inheritance. . .the right to lead has to be fought for and won at the bar of public opinion.

(16) Our people are neither obtuse, naive nor gullible. They are a sophisticated lot. They have shown in the past that they can distinguish the genuine from the spurious, the sincere from the hypocritical. Their children will not be less discerning when they mature with experience.

(17) It is the sacred responsibility of able, intelligent, honest and dedicated members of the younger generation not to leave the leadership of the future to the vagaries of chance. If the best young people in our midst do not aspire to leadership roles, the field will be occupied by lesser persons. This would be a tragedy, for Singapore requires and deserves our best young persons to come forward.

(18) The lessons of history. . .remind us that where self-renewal is left to haphazard chance, the decision-making process in society [passes] into the province of fickle and irresponsible gamblers with destiny, [wastefully extravagant] with the nation’s wealth. They then proceed to mortgage the future, and generations to come will continue to pay for their follies of omission and commission.

(19) The greatest contribution you can make to the nation is to so constitute yourselves as to become a potent force for the national good. No individual can prosper if the society in which he lives and works goes down the drain. . .it is the quality and motivation of the individual which determines the quality of achievement of society as a whole.

C.V. Devan Nair, in What Singapore Means to Me (1981)


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