OPERATION COLDSTORE: Fake news for honourable purpose?

In a more reflective interviews nearing 87 years old, late Lee Kuan Yew said in 2010:

In any case, it is not these reporters or the obituaries they may write that will offer the final verdict on his actions, he said, but future scholars who will study them in the context of their day.

‘I’m not saying that everything I did was right,’ he said, ‘but everything I did was for an honorable purpose. I had to do some nasty things, locking fellows up without trial.‘”

It’d be a dim person not to respect him, if for little else, than his unsentimental openness to subject himself to “future scholars who will study them in the context of their day” to ‘offer the final verdict of his actions’. Equally, it’s a disrespect for a minister to beat down anyone who’s verdict may not be to his liking, no?

In suggesting as he did, why did LKY volunteer a tacit admission that not everything he did was right but that everything he did was for an honourable purpose? And, interestingly, admitting that locking fellows up without trial is a ‘nasty’ thing, to destroy some lives without due democratic process. By the way, it is still legal to do so, today, in First World Singapore.

However, Lee’s openness to be subject to scholarly scrutiny came with the proviso, ‘in the context of their day’ and his own assertion that ‘everything was for an honourable purpose’. ‘Context’ is fair enough. But ‘honourable’? If Lee stuck untrue labels on some Operation Coldstore detainees and did not respect an individual right to due process, even if legal, how was he ‘honourable’? And how do we square a less-than honourable person with ‘honourable purpose’?

Now with regard to Operation Coldstore (2 Feb 1963), these were the relevant, openly known facts about and around Feb 1963 (context of their day).

It was a tumultuous time in Singapore. The broader world was simmering in the Cold War leading up to the Oct 1962 Cuban missile crisis. In our own backyard, the process to form the Federation of Malaysia sparked the Brunei Revolt (Dec 1962) and Indonesia’s announcing their policy of Konfrontasi (Jan 1963), commencing military raids into Malaysia’s territories.

Through all these events, the economy was shaky, to say the least. Into that mix, the 2 dominant political parties People’s Action Party (PAP) and Barisan Socialis were slugging it out for and against (respectively) Singapore’s merger with Malaya. PAP, though in government with originally 43 out of 51 seats from GE 1959 was, by July 1962, reduced to only 26 seats i.e. only 1-seat majority as a result of by-election defeats, defections and expulsions.

Under the momentum of losing nearly half their seats mid-term, there was a fighting chance that PAP, under LKY, will lose the GE 1963 in Sep to an equally, if not seen as more charismatic Lim Chin Siong-led Barisan Socialis.

With the above as context, of the 107 detained under Operation Coldstore, ‘many of the detainees were politicians mostly from Barisan Socialis‘. Barisan’s core leadership of Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan, James Puthucheary, Dominic Puthucheary, Poh Soo Kai, and Lim Hock Siew were detained without trial.

Is it not conceivable and a convenient cover for LKY, an outstanding lawyer, to decimate his key opponent by doing the ’nasty thing (of) locking fellows up without trial’?…albeit with legal cover under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance, the predecessor of the Internal Security Act (ISA)?

Was it fake news for LKY to characterize the mass arrest as a pre-empt against a plot to subvert the elected government – but actually utilising that same act to also destroy one’s political opponents? Even if there is some truth to the subversive plot, would utilising it as a cover to arrest the Barisan Socialis leaders who could not be successfully prosecuted in a court of law, not constitute misleading news – making LKY the protagonist a liar?

Regardless, his ‘honourable purpose’ did not take away the (possible) guilt of spreading fake or misleading news of Operation Coldstore’s overt governmental purpose to advance his covert political intent.

We will not know for certain LKY’s true motivation for Operation Coldstore. Not unless secret documents that the government possess in relation to the alleged threat posed by those detained by Operation Coldstore are revealed and cross-examined by academics and the public to set the record right.

Now, if LKY opened himself, his actions up, no less with a tacit admission of possible ‘not everything was right’ and was prepared for different offerings of verdict by scholars, why did Shan present us with only a binary choice; ”Either they have to be accepted, or shown to be untrue. Keeping quiet about them was not an option.“? Why, indeed, when to any reasonable person, Prof Thum Ping Tjin’s verdict –  is but one, and only one of many other different ones – that LKY of the PAP ‘was the biggest creator of fake news in Singapore, a liar, and Operation Coldstore was based on falsehoods’?

Was it because Thum’s verdict undercut PAP’s propagandised veneer of being ‘men in white’, purveyors and practitioners of non-fake news but unadulterated, pure truth every time, all the time? This is especially inconvenient if that verdict takes root or creates doubts amongst Singaporeans, coming as it does so very soon after the recent Budget 2018 trial balloon snafu. An episode that saw the PAP scrambling to a quiet corner licking its wounds. All thanks to Shan who initiated that self-inflicted wound on PAP. Was Shan trying to make up for his royal screw-up by bashing Thum?

Regardless, the bigger issue for us is, in the context of our day, whether the PAP is covertly, under the guise (or fake news?) of the need to control ‘fake news’, intent on practising and repeating what their party founding father, LKY, did i.e. using their own ‘fake news’ presumably to further what they consider to be ‘honourable purposes’.

My fellow Singaporeans, are you ok with that? Is that what you want for your children – that only one party is able to spread their fake news for what they, a select few, consider to be ‘honourable purposes’ such as, perhaps, perpetuating their party’s total dominance and control of Singapore?

 

Law Kim Hwee
a.k.a. 2cents

 

* The author blogs at secondsight.blogspot.com

 

 

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19 Responses to “OPERATION COLDSTORE: Fake news for honourable purpose?”

  • MarBowling:

    His Big Daddy Lee Kayu had Claimed that he did EVERYTHING for SinKapore and SinKaporean for “HONORABLE PURPOSE”. Talked like an Angel!

    Now looks like his DSON Mai Hum is doing EVERYTHING for SinKapore and SinKaporean for “DISHONORABLE PURPOSE”! One great example, is his questioning of the 7th and final WILL of his Big Daddy Lee Kayu with regard to the Demolition of the FAMILEE house at 38 Oxtail Road. Another is his crap policy of bringing in billionaires who contribute Nothing to the livelihood of most Singaporean esp the common folks. Next he allows the HUGE influx of so-called FTs from 3rd World Cuntries to take over jobs of most local citizen, forcing them to become UBER and GRAB drivers. Talk like an Angel but Acted like a Dev*l!

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  • Great Asia:

    Told you guys already, 3 years and 8 months of Japanese occupation is missing from all his books.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • oxygen:

    DR THUM IS ABSOLUTELY CORRECT about history, the rest of the non-historians in that SELECT COMMITTEE was fake theatre of fake news.

    PAST TENSE HAVE PUBLICLY CONFESSED OF HIS ‘noble deeds’ – NO POINT DENYING THE COMPLETE TRUTH. It is utter failure and shameless otherwise.

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  • Detention:

    Honourable purpose…….what fiack is that?
    All we know is that he was afraid to loose ……lose his million $ job?

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  • LKY is a self-serving SOB:

    LKY’s motive (“honorable purpose”) is not a valid excuse and certainly does not justify the wrong things he did.

    Didn’t Hitler also believed what he did like slaughter the Jews and start World War II were for an “honorable purpose”, i.e., for the Fatherland and for the German people?

    Moreover, how can dishonorable methods be used for an “honorable purpose”?

    Also, what was LKY’s honorable purpose in the first place? Locking up your political opponents without a trial to stay in power is definitely not “honorable”.

    What history would prove is that LKY was just an arrogant, self-serving, ruthless SOB.

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  • INDIAN malay INDIAN president:

    the end did not justify the means. fake charges against fellow citizens is a crime against humanity.

    so also is the selection of president based on race which goes against our national pledge.

    much worse is the fake news when an INDIAN is selected as malay president. and so confusing.

    if papa is INDIAN and ic says INDIAN but pap declares malay, is president INDIAN malay president because ic takes precedence or is president malay INDIAN president because pap declaration takes precedence or is president INDIAN malay INDIAN president because papa takes precedence?

    so confusing. as all fake news is confusing. and so wrong. because such goes against our national pledge. so very wrong.

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  • RDB:

    lky was the highest fake news broadcaster for his own & pap’s political gain. he surely knew that the greater population then were of under educated voters are simple mind, not political news worthy between right & wrong in trustworthiness etc. and thus he took absolute advantage of that. was he then honest or only “honest’ in political speak. it is as clear as daylight. only a fool or ignorance will not know it.

    i thus type in lower case characters to show my utter disrespect to the whole lky-pap regime as yes followers.

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  • Confucian scholar says:

    Human rights without responsibility, without a sense of decency, a sense of compassion, is not good enough for a society to flourish… We need to broaden our scope from the legalistic language to the language of the heart.
    - Prof. Tu Wei Ming

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    At age 87…after all the Evil & Dastardly things, he did from age 35…52 years of Evil and the Families and Unborn he DESTROYED with glee to Comply with another Evil Bastard in exchange for INVESTMENT who used every Modern evil instruments he can get his hands on from Napalm to Agent Orange and DROPPED more BOMBS in Ido-China than all the Bombs dropped on WW2…between the TWO evil Bastards one is in Hell & Burning and the other is still around to see how his De-population of 3rd world is Faring using a little Red Dot as an example of the Success he and the Evil Bastard Conjured…

    The DEAD bast**d even tries to seek Mercy from Jesus without remorse and HOPED he will be saved…But Jesus the Saviour is NOT Singaporean and easily FOOLED!!!

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  • Haigen-diaz:

    Of course no one wants to say Singapore would be better off with LKY sadistic and brutal Coldstore Op, but that isn’t the question on the table. The issue is whether or not the end justifies the means. The bigger problem of why the present system doesn’t work is because the real criminals, generally those that the 70% in Singapore have helped to attain Power, are exempt from the Rules. The failure to have equal justice, and prosecution, for all, is profoundly at the heart of the massive discontent in the Singapore soul. But if deceit and manipulated information are what got us to this point, we must cry out against it. Allowing our leaders to set this kind of precedent would be playing a dangerous game. We must refuse to play; that is the heart of the matter.

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  • rukidding:

    Finally,….the dead Lau Lee is being “kicked” Left,Right and Centre for his Faked news !

    What integrity is left when these are now being exposed ????

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  • Bapak:

    He set an example for Cambodia PM to follow. How great thou art!

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  • Your father:

    It’s hilarious. I’m no govt lackey.
    Y’all are hilarious. Please read a book.

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  • pakuqaz:

    lky is worse than Hitler. Hitler
    only kills jews, but lky &son kills
    own country man.

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  • Pakuqaz:

    Lky & son is worse than Hitler of Germany. Hitler only kills only Jews.
    But in sg, they kills their own citizens.

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  • C'est la vie:

    *****
    Seriously, in all seriousness ………. my rather anaemic, somewhat scarred but stout left toe has more honour !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • rukidding:

    A Traitor worshipped and idoled by 70% Sinkaporeans as a Hero ????…looks like 70% Sinkaporeans are really Dafts

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    pakuqaz:
    lky is worse than Hitler. Hitler
    only kills jews, but lky &son kills
    own country man.

    Bro, take a look at his picture, trying to soften his EVILNESS with a soft look…But it is all in the EYES the Evil can NEVER be removed in the EYES!!!

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  • MarBowling:

    patriot of Temesak:
    April 18, 2018 at 11:50 am (Quote)
    pakuqaz:
    lky is worse than Hitler. Hitler
    only kills jews, but lky &son kills
    own country man.
    Bro, take a look at his picture, trying to soften his EVILNESS with a soft look…But it is all in the EYES the Evil can NEVER be removed in the EYES!!!

    Response;totally agree with your Great observation. Like the saying goes:Seah Tao Shii Ngan aka Head like that of a S’nake and Eyes like those of a Rat!

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