Singaporean academic Prof Lim stands up to defend Dr Thum when others keep silence

Mr Yeoh Lam Keong, the former GIC chief economist and adjunct professor at the LKY School of Public Policy, published a letter from Prof Linda Lim on his Facebook page today (13 Apr).

Prof Lim, a Singaporean and the Professor Emerita of Corporate Strategy and International Business at the University of Michigan, is one of the close to 200 world academics who recently signed an open letter supporting Dr Thum Ping Tjin and said that diverse views should be encouraged and not quashed. They defended Dr Thum, who was questioned for six hours last month by the Law and Home Affairs Minister during the Select Committee hearing.

Prof Lim, who was very disturbed by the recent 6-hour grilling received by Dr Thum at the hearing said, “I have written about academic freedom before in Today (‘When academics speak their mind, society benefits‘) and my views there should be referenced as a backdrop to my signing the open letter.”

“In this case, the grilling of Dr. Thum – not by his peers in an academic forum, but by a senior government official in a public hearing ostensibly focused on another issue, the problem of ‘fake news’ — discourages academics from (a) challenging established orthodoxies, which is their role and the process by which progress in knowledge is made, (b) exercising their right and even responsibility as members of civil society to comment on issues of public policy interest,” she added.

“In such matters, diverse views are to be encouraged, expected and respected, not discouraged as the truly extraordinary six-hour public interrogation of Dr. Thum will do.”

She said that going forward, few people will want to voluntarily share alternative views which are not conforming to official narratives, for fear of risking “hostile persecution by the powerful”. As a result, the society will be the “poorer for it”, she said.

She noted that the grilling of Dr Thum appeared to be over his credentials and academic integrity, which was “beyond the remit and the professional qualifications of the Select Committee”. Indeed, none of the members in the Select Committee are academics to begin with.

She also observed that the questioning of Dr. Thum’s character had led to “further public denigration” of his character online in the same “unfortunately disrespectful tone” that the Select Committee used at the hearing.

It’s not known if the Internet Brigade set up by People’s Action Party (PAP) has been the one actively denigrates Dr Thum online.

She said that it’s alright to disagree reasonably and civilly, especially in history, since different people can experience the same event very differently.

“The uncovering of new facts can also lead to new interpretations, and here it would be helpful if the authorities would give the public access to all the documents pertaining to a particular historical event — like Operation Coldstore — to make such evaluations,” she added.

“Surely, more than half a century later, and with the demise of global communism, any national security implications of such disclosure have evaporated — or we have failed to secure the nation.”

But the Select Committee’s untoward grilling of Dr Thum not only deters academics from addressing controversial subjects in their research and from participating in civic activities, it also intimidates and discourages citizens from developing and voicing their own independent opinions, and from participating in civil society, she opined.

“As an economist, I am particularly concerned about this because our economic future hinges on successful indigenous innovation, which by definition requires a collective habit of questioning established ways of thinking and doing, such as academics are trained and required to practice,” she said.

“As a Singaporean, I am disappointed that the hearing did not consider the serious point Dr Thum raised of possible state promulgation of ‘fake news’, as for example, in the 1987 mass political detentions where those detained deny the accusation of being ‘Marxist conspirators’, for which they were not tried, and from which they are yet to be absolved.”

Finally she said that such hard-line attitude demonstrated by the government undermines the trust in government which is necessary for Singapore’s political stability, social cohesion and national progress.

Who is Prof Linda Lim?

Prof Lim teaches at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan (UM), where she served as Director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies and as Associate Director of the International Institute.

At Ross, she was faculty advisor of the annual Asia Business Conference for 25 years, and maintains links with a large network of American and Asian UM alumni. With CSEAS of UM and Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, she organized an Indonesia Forum in Singapore in 2015, and a Myanmar Forum in 2016.

She teaches MBA courses and executive education sessions in UM and, has consulted and conducts executive seminars on Asian business and economics for multinational and Asian companies and associations, and government agencies.

She has done training and ambassador briefings for the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Trade Representative, has testified to the U.S. Congress’ House Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly Economic Committee. She has also consulted for private think tanks (e.g. American Enterprise Institute), United Nations agencies (e.g. ESCAP, ILO, UNIDO) and the OECD Development Centre.

Prof Lim has served on a Singapore higher education task force (2004), and is on the board of the National University of Singapore America Foundation since 2005.

It is indeed admirable that Prof Lim, as a Singaporean academic, has stood up to defend her fellow Singaporean academic Dr Thum when those from our local universities have essentially kept silence.

It now remains to be seen if the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute which is under the Education Ministry would dare co-organize future international forums anymore with UM’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies headed by Prof Lim.

 

* Editorial by The Online Citizen.

 

 

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23 Responses to “Singaporean academic Prof Lim stands up to defend Dr Thum when others keep silence”

  • 171 and counting:

    And we can hear a pin drop in the midst of the silence from both the Select Comm as the signatories pile up from throughout the world.

    Only a NUS graduate, he dare to insult many times the Harvard and Oxford graduate.The only non-graduate MP in Parly, the lesser Mortal Charlie probably did not dare to open his mouth throughout the proceedings.

    Thank God for Youtube–bullies and tyrants have no where to hide.

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  • Bapak:

    No one can erase history. Those who try will be history. Let the world knows how stupid is PAP to ownself history ownself.

    Sinkies wont know cos they are already stupider than PAP. This group cant even add 1+1.

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  • MarBowling:

    Mai Hum and his Gang of So-called World Class Ministers esp that SNAKEMugam can only bully local esp the DAFTS! HoLee shits.

    Amos Yee has out-manoeuvred and shamed Mai Hum and his Gang of World Class Bullies, period! Now it looks like Dr Thum who is a True Blue Singaporean and for doing on behalf of Singaporean esp the 30%, is able to do the same to Mai Hum! Think the timing is RIGHT!

    The blady reputation of Mai Hum and his so-called talented wifey HoLee Jinx(esp as the wifey of Mai Hum and CEO of TH by showing her famous Extended Rude Middle Finger to the Whole World) has gone down to the drain since the 38 Oxtail Lee Kayu FAMILEE saga. The Earlier ill-treatment of Amos Yee and his subsequent ability to carry out the Great Escape Under the nose of both Mai Hum and Big Nose Teo and then shown the REAL Middle Finger by President D Trump, followed the SNUB by President XJP in the OBOR inicident and now the DOF saga has SHOWN HOW competent and smart Mai Hum and His Gang of World Class Ministers Are when these MF, JLB and useless Bums and Buliies “FIGHT” against a True Blue Singaporean who is supported by LOCAL as well Global academics and well-wishers!

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  • NotMyProblem:

    “… it also intimidates and discourages citizens from developing and voicing their own independent opinions, and from participating in civil society”.

    That’s precisely the purpose of the Fake News legislation is for.

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  • Rotten Eggs.:

    I observed;
    Only those Professionals, retired or faraway dares to speak out to the oppression and unjust while most, enjoying the benefits and put blind eyes while fellow citizens suffered are mum throughout.

    These people should receive rotten eggs smash onto their titles and be reborn mute and dump or crippled for their denial of their Gifts to stand-up against oppression and may the Gift be denied forever to them. Ah-men!.

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  • OUR FREEDOM DEPENDS ON PAP:

    Clearly the whole intention is to deters anyone from addressing ruling party controversial subjects or policies and from participating in non-PAP linked civic activities, also to intimidates and discourages non pro PAP citizens from developing and voicing their own independent opinions, and from participating in civil society.

    Having grilled someone publicly especially from the academics will send a strong signal that the definition of FREEDOM in PAP context is not found in your dictionary but theirs !

    This platform will reinforce PAP stands and positions to the whole world ” YOUR FREEDOM IS AT PAP MERCY “.

    SUCK IT UP !

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  • oxygen:

    LEE-JIAPORE IS A PAPpy CIRCUS OF ONE-MAN DICTATORIAL SHOW – near sudden death collapse from irrelevance in a fast turbulent world.

    No PAPpys, lesser or superior mortals or “unnatural aristocrats via the GRC backdoor route” DARE F*RT A SOUND on the expletive called “TURBULENCE” on the public stage. Even Present Tense told a BBC journalist this – nobody has a monopoly of wisdom and virtue.

    So how can DICTATORSHIP works in reality of challenges in a turbulent world?IT IS PRECISELY THIS LACK OF DIVERSITY OF VIEWS AND CHALLENGES FROM WITHIN that led us to this frightening quagmire and quicksand.

    That is why Professor Linda Lim is correct when she said

    As an economist, I am particularly concerned about this because our economic future hinges on successful indigenous innovation, which by definition requires a collective habit of questioning esta

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  • oxygen:

    Continuiing from the above interrupted post.

    As an economist, I am particularly concerned about this because our economic future hinges on successful indigenous innovation, which by definition requires a collective habit of questioning established ways of thinking and doing, such as academics are trained and required to practice,”

    LEE-jiapore CANNOT SURVIVE without diversity of views and internal challenges.Just look into living species world – there is biodiversity in every one of them. Without diversity of species, the extinction of one means the end of “civilisation” of that specie.

    WE ARE NEARLY THERE NOW OF END OF SPECIE and PAPpys still won’t change. And the 70% brainwashed with stupidity obsession with PAPpys poisoned propaganda preaching of “political stability” are too stupid to even BEGIN TO DISCOVER they are stupid to impossibility. A lot of them “bought” into PAPpys scam of ASSET ENHANCEMENT POLITICS now find themselves trapped with

    - no retirement savings
    - worry about rising healthcare costs in old age
    - a huge insurmountable liability ironically called ‘PROPERTY’ with fast falling values as it ages and no job stability and income certainty to service this dumb SUB-PRIME MORTGAGE funded out of bank borrowing and CPF together.
    - worry if they can put tommorrow food on the table.

    DON’T BLAME PAPpys for the sly cunning, blame your own stupidity of gulliable naivety to impossibility of simplistic thinking – BUY PROPERTY, VOTE PAPpy formulae.

    YOU GOT WHAT YOU VOTED FOR, SO DON’T CRY NOW.

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  • Detention:

    Prof Lim will be bar from returning to Sinkiland. And if return will be detained for interrogation n possible detention for supporting the Marxist!

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  • When academic brownoses:

    When academic brownoses, the human values embraced by the citizenry erodes rapidly as each cohort of graduates is released into the society. It can be understandable why a political leader wants to nurture brownosing in public bureacracy and public institution. Just for the sake of those who really do not understand, the effect hoped to be achieved by the political leaders is succintly expressed by the well known Singaporean sibling with an entire family of one running for their life. But to adulerate academic institution with world widely accepance of the necessity of academic freedom so that the vibancy of the citizenry can be sustained with young graduates nurtured with human values mainly integrity, honesty, ethical, dedication and professionalism.
    When academic freedom is lost, the institution cannot be considered to be educational. Education is really not stuffing the students with knowledge but to equip him being a man first to use his aquired knowledge to advance civilization. When academic brownose, all ended in the dark holes. Nothing becomes authentic for brownosing erase all authenticity to what pleases the authority hinging on their rewards.

    The Chinese has the equivalence for brownosing which to them is fart worms, worms feeding on farts and producing more farts to form the smoke screen so needed to sustain modus operandi in opacity and compliancy. As long as brownosing prevails, democracy deos not exist and any claim of democracy is essentially falsehood.

    Even Yale despite of initial much resistance from her own alma matre and staff succumbed to the lure of millions at the price of compliance to brownosing and destroying her hundreds of years of painfully accumulation of trust respect and recognition of fchampion of academic freedom and media freedom. Money erodes integrity is as true as envy begets greed begets indulgence in secrecy and opacity. This is what the society .pays out to destroy its own fibres and entity. When a leader told the world that its citizenry is daft while internationally it has been applauded to be a knowlegeable and vibrant society, it suggests the world has been fed with falsehood all his years of leadershp.

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  • Still waiting for Law Society:

    I am still waiting for the Singapore Law Society to give its views on Amos Yee’s success in getting a US Court to grant him asylum in the US. It said it would after the results of the appeal of US DHS are known. Well US DHS lost the appeal months ago. Amos got his Green Card and can stay in the US indefinitely. (He also does not have to do NS.) Law Society’s silence is deafening. Does it have to balls to say anything now?

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  • INDIAN malay INDIAN president:

    171 and counting:
    And we can hear a pin drop in the midst of the silence from both the Select Comm as the signatories pile up from throughout the world.

    Only a NUS graduate, he dare to insult many times the Harvard and Oxford graduate.The only non-graduate MP in Parly, the lesser Mortal Charlie probably did not dare to open his mouth throughout the proceedings.

    Thank God for Youtube–bullies and tyrants have no where to hide.

    so very well said. agree.

    side track. remember Qing dynasty dying stages. see all those eunuchs bending over each other to get attention of dowager for more dough. even though just outside the walls peasants with nothing more to lose cannot tahan any more and ask for change.

    all dynasties start good. but as successive generations take privilege like birthright and squeeze blood out of stones, such as more GST on increasing number of jobless sheep in Singapore, those stones then and the sheep in Singapore today cannot tahan and ask for change.

    sure to happen. a matter of sooner or later. a matter of timing.

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  • Bystander:

    PAP is really a moron, citizens criticize the Govt to make it more effective governing Singapore, but basically we do trust this Govt.
    But grilling Thum to this extent, and worse resorting to the typical character assassination reserved for opposition politicians, ultimately destroys whatever trust left for PAP.
    The bullying is typically mafia behaviour displayed by gangsters, not politicians, like a pack of wolves attacking a lone ranger, a despicable act, unsurprising that none in the local academic sphere dare to make a small squeak to defend their own kind, even Puthucherry, a lower level Minister in the Govt, whose own father was also a victim in the so called Marxist Conspiracy, betrayed him to save his own skin.
    This Govt is Communist in disguise, and yet have the cheek to deny it.

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  • Great Asia:

    Communism: Communist Party of China is Evil?
    Democracy: Kuomintang of China is Good?

    or

    Communism: Communist Party of China is Good?
    Democracy: Kuomintang of China is Evil?

    or

    Communism: Communist Party of China is Good?
    Democracy: Kuomintang of China is Good?

    or

    Communism: Communist Party of China is Evil?
    Democracy: Kuomintang of China is Evil?

    or

    Communism: Communist Party of China is Good & Evil?
    Democracy: Kuomintang of China is Evil & Good?

    or

    What?

    Should China be divided into North China and South China?

    Which group of the Chinese should go down in history as the bad guys?

    China and Chinese people managed to become a continental size country and civilisation by determining which group(s) of Chinese is bad or good?

    After the unification of Taiwan and China in the future, do you think the Chinese will label democratic Kuomintang as Evil and the people supporting the latter as stupid people?

    We are being misled by the shallow banana Lee Kuan Yew and his team of shallow monkeys.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • patriot of Temesak:

    A well-TRAINED puppy(not necessary pedigree a mongrel will be fine) from the DynastyKENNEL is well Fed, Groomed even with a semi-balding head AND Conditioned to Bark & Attack on Command…

    so, my dear Literatis out there what do you EXPECT??? roped into the kennel and be a watch and guard DOG or be like Dr.Thum, Prof LindaLim & Mr.Yeoh Lam Keong…For all TruBlu Singaporean stand and give a BOW to the Three Patriots and the many more silent ones who deserve the Highest Accolades for NOT being a Dog!!!

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  • Chris Bong:

    The government has only one option to prove that what they say is not fake news; just open your archives and let the world read. Gone are the days where the people believe in every single word PAP said to be the truth. Why are they so afraid if they believe what they did to be the truth. Cowards that’s what they are.

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  • rukidding:

    Nowadays, I tend to dis-regard opinions and statements made by one economics prof ,who use to be from NTUu ,who had to retract his statement when challenged by late LKY.

    Today, he still around,,,,giving economics opinion….and…spokesman for the Pimps and prostitute.

    Ya,..he now promoted to another public policy studies school.

    Ghee,….how he managed to survive so long ????….all jus by “sucking up to authorities” and “selling” his soul and integrity/.

    Reddot is jus anothe Communist controlled party by the infamous Pimps and prostitute party.

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  • LIONS:

    Good to see more academics coming out to stand up for TRUTH N JUSTICE.
    Kudos to Prof Lim n others like Prof Tambyiah.
    Dr Thum,you are not alone,sgs of good consciences are with you.

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  • everyone fears for ricebowl:

    Rotten Eggs.:
    I observed;
    Only those Professionals, retired or faraway dares to speak out to the oppression and unjust

    Under tyrannical PAP rule everyone fears for their ricebowl.

    That is why no lawyer in the whole of Singapore dared to take on the cases of Roy Ngerng and Han Hui Hui, except civil rights lawyer, M. Ravi, whose ricebowl was ultimately smashed by the PAP (judiciary).

    Even the jxxxdges fear for their ricebowl. And they (have to) rule in favor of you know who, or else….

    What happened to the fate of the judge who ruled in favor of JBJ?

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  • Change We Must:

    The M$ minister has no credential, his argument does not have any backing by scholastic research. He based every on “IF”, if this thing happened, the outcome will be this happening. All his guessing work. Dr Thum report is based on his professional research, what kind of research has the law minister presented to us. He just tried to cover up the facts of history that LKY did to the innocents by crafting out a good story to warrant innocents to be locked up without trial.

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  • PAP is a dictatorship:

    If the rubber stamp Parliament were to declare that a s*ake is a monkey, it will agree that a s*ake is a monkey.

    Parliament has zero credentials and is the laughing stock of many.

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  • jaywalker:

    Slime balls arbitrating what is fake news and what is not? Must be joking!

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  • Prof Lim...:

    If you ever get a ‘yellow card from the top’, broadcast it ok.

    Thanks for Standing Up for Singapore!

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