Separating Myths from Reality

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* Thanks to FMT for featuring this as their highlight story.

During this time of mass sympathising, I think it is important to keep certain things in perspective.

SEPARATING MYTHS FROM REALITY

1. Both Sides of the Historical Narrative

I’ll preface this with a recent comment I saw on Facebook:

“Dear friends, it is important for all of us to hear all sides of Lee Kuan Yew’s legacy. ‪#LKY‬ has done many things right but history will record both sides of the narratives.”
(– Hani Mohamed, founder/CEO of Alertist)

I downloaded The Straits Times’ special 24-page edition to mark the life of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I have also read several local as well as foreign publications praising LKY’s reign, chiefly for leading the country from a “third world” state to one of economic prosperity.

I noticed one comment on a Politico article which brings some objectivity into remembering LKY’s legacy (comment edited for grammar):

“The worst and inhumane DISRESPECT for anyone who has passed away, is to simply laud only the good things, without noting also the bad things in their lives, and framing all of these in a proper context fitting for this person as a HUMAN BEING, however larger-than-life this person may be. History is for Objective Balance!”
(– Johnathan Li)

It comes as no surprise that a lot of the details from the darker side of Singapore’s history have been left out of the eulogies for LKY.

For instance, in Lee Kuan Yew’s Singapore, T.J.S. George writes that “only the PAP possessed weapons with which to fight battles for the people’s minds.” LKY’s techniques in the early 1960s were described as then chairman of the Barisan as “Legal fixing.” (Perhaps that is where PM Lee Hsien Loong got the term “fixing the opposition” from.)

In that same book, LKY is described as applying “the free employment of authoritarian methods to eliminate all opposition,” because in his mind, no one else in Singapore “could be right.” What he achieved was a “one-man party and a one-party state.” His old comrade-in-arms, Lim Chin Siong, was denied trial or right of appeal and sent to Changi jail for seven years, of which some time was spent in solitary confinement.

Political insiders in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur claimed that “Lim was fed drugs which induced depression and self-destructive tendencies” (also mentioned in an Amnesty Report and a political detainee’s account). Let us also not forget Dr. Chia Thye Poh, detained for 32 years and left with poor health, Former Solicitor General Francis Seow, Former Magistrate JB Jeyaretnam, Tang Liang Hong, Tan Wah Piow, Chee Soon Juan, Teo Soh Lung, Dr. Poh Soo Kai, Dr. Lim Hock Siew, and countless others who were repeatedly imprisoned and/or bankrupted for being perceived as a real threat to the PAP’s hold on power.

Even with this knowledge, I found myself semi-enthralled by the halo effect certain mainstream media outlets have granted LKY, by portraying him in a saviour-of-Singapore, saint-like manner.

The thing that snapped me out of my enthrallment were presentations about LKY’s loving and caring side as a father and husband. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a model father and husband, I find it outrageous that this type of portrayal spares no thought for the political detainees/exiles — who had been LKY’s fellow Singaporean citizens — whose entire lives and ties with their family and homeland were majorly disrupted because of one man’s ruthless beliefs and access to state apparatus.

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LKY supporters justify his actions by saying that everything he did was for Singapore’s survival, to take it from a “third world to first world country.” He was also a shrewd, clever and pragmatic politician who had to (by his own words) do what was correct.

T.J.S. George adds that LKY “seemed convinced from the outset that anyone who opposed him was an enemy of Singapore,” so in that sense, it can be viewed that LKY was “protecting the country” from people he viewed as enemies.

2. For Whose Survival?

LKY may have viewed himself as The Right Man for the job, but that doesn’t mean it was fair to

1) use the law to incarcerate and intimidate opponents because he could, and

2) that it’s correct to explain away such actions as “simply something that had to be done” to ensure the future “success” of Singapore.

How can it be guaranteed that any of these political opponents would have been political failures, when none of them were given a chance to prove their mettle and implement their own vision? Depending on which side you’re on, it wouldn’t be wrong to categorise such actions as cruel, underhanded, and a significant cost to human rights.

Some people might say that concepts like democracy, human rights, and fair play, are too “idealistic” for the arena of politics. Real life just doesn’t work that way, so we, the people, have to just live with it.

The more I study LKY’s (and by extension, the PAP’s) behaviour and actions, the more it seems like certain things were implemented to ensure “the PAP’s survival.” Would a government who truly cares about its citizens have such an aggressive foreign talent policy?

Kenneth Paul Tan, the vice dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said:

“It cannot be just the government leading the way forward. The people have to be as much a part of this, so a new social contract can be forged which can be legitimate to all.”

If one reads between the lines, one could even infer that the current social contract is not “legitimate to all.”

The Straits Times is widely known by discerning Singaporeans as a government mouthpiece.

Presenting a one-sided view of history is dangerous, because if we have knowledge of some of LKY’s past actions and choose to justify those cruel actions as “necessary,” what type of effect does this kind of outlook and behaviour have on the rest of The Cabinet and Government of Singapore, and further down the line, on the mass populace?

It brings to mind Chris Ho’s recent post about the shameless brazenness of the government and how this is creating a more aggressive, callous society at the ground level.

It also brings to mind Alfian Sa’at’s recent poem, on “the other side of the news” that isn’t reported during this time of national mourning.

It breeds an outlook that is desensitised and inhumane — never mind if your fellowmen are suffering, never mind if they are poor, never mind if they can’t seem to get their act together and get ahead in life financially. It’s their fault, life is nothing but a rat race, and “economic prosperity” justifies everything at the end of the day.

It’s up to each of us to decide what matters most at the end of the day, whether “the end justifies all means” is the right type of outlook to take, and whether a lack of compassion in the name of power and economic success are values we aspire to uphold.

Speaking of “economic success,” we should also ask ourselves who chiefly benefits from this much-lauded national prosperity.

3. Separating Myths from Reality

Propaganda can be defined as:

Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view. (– Google)

We elect governments officials whom we are made to believe can be trusted in being capable, “incorruptible,” and of integrity to handle the country’s affairs. No one in their right mind would elect an elite force to spread lies, half-truths, and/or mismanage funds while enriching themselves and their families.

It is up to each of us to make a collective, sustained effort to counter propaganda, so that government accountability is not reduced to a piece of fiction or a romantic pipe-dream.

I hope discerning individuals will be able to see through some of these myths that have been built up and propagated over decades, not because we want to “attack” a person or be “haters,” but because of the importance of being able to separate myths from reality. We owe it to ourselves and future generations to have an accurate version of history, which provides us with a real connection to a reliable, honest past.

If we don’t ask tough questions, we risk being brainwashed by state-supervised mainstream media propaganda. Furthermore, we risk being left in a permanently comatose and brain-DEAD state, from decades of propaganda which tells us what is the right story to accept — never mind if it’s really real or not.

Knowledge and awareness aid a society in moving forward. Learning from past errors or wrong-doings prevents the same things from happening again in future or being indefinitely prolonged.

How else could we ever be sure we are progressing in the right direction, if we can’t even tell if we’re standing on a secure enough foundation?

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8th House Scorpio

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I thought I’d write a short blog post on my general interest in dark themes and “the taboo.”

(1) I’ve been an astrology enthusiast since mid-2006, when I first found out I had a Pisces Moon.

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8th House | Mystic Medusa

In mid-2012, I found out (c/o astro.com and Darkstar) I have Venus conjunct Pluto in Scorpio 8th House (under whole signs — under default system, those two planets are right at the end of my 7th House).

I have been a little hesitant to share certain aspects of my astrological chart in the past in public. However, over the years, I’ve noticed I wouldn’t have realized those aspects of myself had it not been for others who had written about their own planetary placements (whether on their blogs/websites/social media spaces, or during face-to-face conversations).

My Lilith Gemini and Pisces Moon have contacts with that Venus Scorpio of mine, so I suppose it does come out in the form of “writing about taboo subjects.”

As the wise and intuitive Marina from Darkstar mentioned, life is generally smoother when we’re living out our astrological charts naturally.

(2) There’s another thing that’s always on my mind when it comes to the subject of consensual sexual relations between siblings (i.e. consensual incest, which didn’t initially strike me as something EXTREMELY taboo or “forbidden by society” until I got into some trouble with the subject matter).

I don’t have a brother, so I have wondered in the past about my intense interest between the romantic/sexual love that can be shared between a brother and sister.

It might have something to do with the following anecdote (true story). According to my mother and her doctor while she was expecting me, I might have had a twin but the embryo never developed beyond the very earliest stages of embryogenesis. I am convinced the embryo might have been male and that I might very well have “absorbed” the male genes (as a result of “killing off” the other twin).

A vanishing twin, also known as fetal resorption, is a fetus in a multi-gestation pregnancy which dies in utero and is then partially or completely reabsorbed by the twin. (from Wiki)

I mean, that would explain why I am indeed particularly drawn to brother-sister twincest (which, incidentally, is also a subject popular enough to have a #Twincest hashtag on twitter).

The 8th house is about sex, death and the occult, and in the modern world, everything associated with the 8th house is taboo (tribe.net). That second link also notes that:

The 8th House is VERY important, because it reminds us that “the health of the visible depends upon the health of the invisible force field that surrounds it.” (Caroline Casey)

So I guess a lot of my writing is very 8th house influenced :P

There’s always something about sex/love/death/murders/power/money/mystery…that kind of thing.

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Project #2 of 2013 that I worked on was Bro Sis Diaries (of the “erotic love” genre — a collection of short stories featuring “consenting siblings indulging in the sexual love they share and desire”).

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Project #3 of 2013 is The Wilde Trilogy, a psychological thriller about evil twins (a brother sister serial killing team) — my current work-in-progress.

(3) Some rambles: I decided to try working in the psych thriller genre since it is more mainstream than “taboo contemporary fiction with erotic elements.” I do have a goal to attract a wider readership and I thought this might be a good way to go about things (so I need not feel like I’m totally “selling out” to be “more commercial” — I like having a balance between art and commerce/business). I also like the twists and turns that the genre allows for, along with the psychological dimension.

I’m taking a rather non-explicit route with The Wilde Trilogy. There’ll still be “sexual tension” between the siblings, and this is part of the story in terms of their growing propensity for murder/criminal activity in the books.

I’m about 10,000 words into the first book. Have an outline which I’m following. Later on, I’ll be doing the Survival Trilogy (which features a female serial killer and the #RomanceKills murder project). I have the draft covers on jessINK and will upload the summary and synopses relatively soon. I have the plot roughly structured in my mind, though the third book for that series needs a bit of work (not too sure about that one’s plot yet).

So that’s my blog post about 8th house astrology, and my interest in sex/love/taboo themes/death/murders/suicide/homicide/psychology/obsession/power/money/mystery/intrigue/intensity/intimacy/etc.

P.S. I’d love to hear from you if these topics interest you too, or if you’re a fellow 8th house person :)

Death Dragoness

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This was a poem I wrote a few years ago. It can be found in the poetry section, but I’ll paste it here for your convenience (gosh, this is what contacting literary agents does to you — everything is “for your convenience” :P).

My note for the poem: I was exploring the concept of death being a dragon.

~

Death Dragoness

Let her come to you…
The end is naught
But the real beginning
resist
and your soul will know
Unrest
let her find you
and you both will soar
beyond the deepest nights
beyond unconquered depths.
She’s pain and joy
intertwined
tears and dreams
personified
She’s never spoken
and yet you’ve known her –
who can understand
the meaning of her being?
Whosoever unlocks the
mystery
has sealed the fate of
forbidden
certainty
hence
proceed
and fly away!
Your heart’s yearnings
to be fulfilled;
Your spirit’s cries
to rest in sanctity.

– Jess C Scott

~

I *could* use this blog as a motivation to myself, to create more poems for Dragonsinn. I find it sad, alarming, disturbing, amusing (in a slightly perverse sense) that writing as an art form (any art forms, in fact) is dead, or dying at the very least. Everything’s for television and interactive media where everyone who’s anyone has an equal chance of having their 15 minutes of instant sensational fame.

I’ve spent most of 2007 working on my first book. I’ve spent the past 2 months querying agents. I know it’s a (focused) crapshoot, what I’m doing; going the long hard traditional old school way of getting an agent/editor for the publishing process, instead of self-publishing on lulu or something.

I know I’m mad. Chasing a dream I’ve had since what, almost two decades ago. I’m just a bit older than two decades right now.

But I continue to stubbornly believe in what I’ve done. I don’t want to die penniless, but if I’m gonna grumble and protest about the multitude of writers/artistes out there today that sell-out and care about how much money is rolling in more than their so-called craft, then I think I sure as hell should stick to what I AM doing and want to do, so that I’m not a hypocrite.

In other words [Marcus Tullius Cicero’s, to be exact (Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, 106 BC-43 BC)]:

“I criticize by creation, not by finding fault.”

Okay, I was supposed to just think about what I wanna do with this blog, which is to:

1) rant
2) create/experiment with more literary material for Dragonsinn.

I do write other things in my free time, but I think I’ll use this blog exclusively for material for Dragonsinn. That’s what I say for now…