A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves

Silence of the lambs

The Deafening Silence of Sheep City

When it comes to the almighty money, Singaporeans makes no bones about it. We work under the scorching sun or in a stifled air-conditioned office environment, toiled under the veil of darkness and go home a weary man. The next day we continue on our routine like clockwork, oblivious to other things other than the auspices of making money and continue the next day, and the next. Subconsciously, we have become drones, not because we cannot do anything positive about it, but cared too little for any effort of change. It is a sad prospect to any form of life, any nature of society, here on earth. The subjugated willingness to servitude. The subjugated willingness to perform without question. The subjugated conformity to silence.

It has become culture.

We are silent over many things; our constitutional rights of freedom. We are afraid to speak for fear of reprisals from the ruling PAP government. Ask anyone and you will have this point strongly reinforced in answer. We are no longer interested on the quality of free life but the quantity of how much wealth we can accumulate. We believed in our most despondent way that prosperity means everything. Such an inferior perception that begets ludicrousness. We believed, which is the reason why no one protested against the million dollar payhike the ruling oligarchy are paying themselves except an emboldened few, that with more money our ministers are incorruptible and efficient, to generate more wealth for the nation and thus we easily neglect other reasons worth mentioning.

We think we’ve come so far

On all our lies we depend

We see no consequence

This is the beginning of the end*

However, these perceptions are not without exception in recent affairs- note the events that evolved from the NKF saga. Citizens were scathing to discover the corrupt practices and of those involved. To placate the people, TT Durai and his aides were subsequently charged in court. The people seemed happy that justice has been meted out. Surprisingly in a turn of events, Richard Yong, a former director, after being declared bankrupt, slipped unnoticed past our checkpoints and escaped to Kuala Lumpur. He was last known to be at the Malaysian capital. How he managed to escape continue to remain a mystery. No one can leave Singapore after being declared bankrupt and will be detained at the checkpoint prior to the attempt but in this case, Yong managed to escape. Was his record not updated? Was it not updated deliberately? Or were the checkpoint officers negligent? Questions were not raised. A murmur was heard but nothing more. No one spoke of this. There were no questions asked, just dead silence.

In Sheep City, we are used to this deafening silence. We fear consequences above everything else, a risk not worthy of taking. We fear asking about our rights, to question and to live as men with dignity, not the doomed citizenry of a vicious oligarchic abattoir. Freedom is forgotten. It is akin to a dream unworthy of dreaming or aspiring, a melancholy we sing in tune every day unabated and in unison. A pledge we recite daily in schools but lost its true meaning and forgotten in time. We value nothing else but the value of stability, wealth and possessions. Singapore Dissident wrote this quite accurately:

Please do not insult lions, by calling Singapore a Lion City. Lions are courageous noble creatures in the face of danger or any bully for that matter. If by calling Singapore a lion city, meaning Singaporeans are lions, you defamed all lions in Africa and India. If the lions could sue, they would have engaged the best lawyers and sued you for defaming their character!

A City of Sheep would be a correct name for those who people in that Island Republic of Singapore. Sheep as we know, have an inbuilt tendency to comply, turn here or that way, this direction of that and willingly permit themselves to be sheared for their wool or slaughtered without complaint.

It would be unfair for me to label us all as such. They are a brave few who have stood up against authoritarianism and have had completely forsaken their prosperity for the love of freedom. Not for the love of Hello Kitty and the ensuing pandemonium which Singapore is world-famous for. These democracy activists are to be commended. These are true Singaporeans who have showed their quality. Here is an excerpt of a real story from a democracy activist Jeffery George, who has taken part in a rally and march that led to a standoff with the police. These stories are not your regular State Times daily dosage. It is not fit to be in any page even the obituary. But here, I present you another side of the coin which you have never seen. More of the article can be found here.

On the eve of the protest, I met up with the other participants. We were busy discussing the various scenarios of being stopped and arrested and how we would respond.

But at the back of my mind, thoughts of my wife, kids, parents, friends and colleagues again played out. It hit me that the moment of truth was upon me and I had to face the realities of being entangled with the law and the wrath of the PAP regime.

I did not have a peaceful sleep that night; my wife had last minute fears and began to discourage me from going to the protest. She even suggested that I stay in the background, supporting the others without direct participation.

The main fear was the vindictiveness of Lee Kuan Yew against his foes. Her fears about me going to jail and the kids’ future, their perception and respect for a father whose reputation would most definitely be stained were real.

I was struggling with my wife’s fears and my own last moment reservations. I was looking at being charged with illegal gathering and facing a couple of thousand dollars fine, which I had decided I was not going to pay. I was prepared to go to jail for a few weeks.

It was a long night of reflection and thinking…

These are, my friends, lions. In the face of adversity, they do not back down or cringe in fear. Once we have overcome our fear, the silence can be broken. The spell will be lifted from our heads and we will be raised from our drunken stupor and claim our rights to be citizens again. Freedom is your birthright and no one can take it from you. We are not sheep. We are humans. If you are not, you can enjoy in the longevity and prosperity of silence just like lambs in a farm. The Merlion should be demolished and another icon installed in its stead: a blasphemous sheep. We are no longer fit to have such a gregarious iconic creature, let alone its characteristics be it a mythical lion. For truly, we are far from being world class citizens.

Live a life of honor and integrity. Uphold freedom and justice. May we all be a truly proud and free citizen.

*From the album Year Zero by Nine Inch Nails track 02 Beginning of the End. Click on Box.Net widget on the sidebar.


5 Responses to “Silence of the lambs”

  1. I fully understand the thoughts going through Jeffery George’s mind. Indeed it takes a lot of courage & strength to be able to stand up publicly against the Govt, PAP and LKY. And he has a wife, kids, family, and if the family is dependent on him, all the more admirable he is daring to face what is already flitting through his mind.

    If more people are willing to band together for major impact it would be ideal. But I will say that for most of us, in fact alot of us do not have or has already lost faith completely in beating against rocks, walls and what else you want to call it.

    There are so many bloggers and others who post their thoughts, their anger. But frankly, how effective are these? It mostly serve the police, the govt, the pap an opportunity to sue one, get money from one, and lock one away again & again since they are so free. Probably too, this is 1 of their great sources of increasing their wealth over the years.

    As for that Richard Yong, there are people questioning the authorities on his easy disappearance, where do you think? Only in the newly revamp ST website as online comments, and even then these comments may be deleted by ST if deem unsuitable subsequently. There are NO letters posted in the ST Forum because you seriously think that ST will allow & accept any such publications? ST reports are also probably prep NOT to touch the subject other than just report it & make it the report appear as small as possible.

    For protests to work, the people must band together like what we see in other countries, France, Korea, HongKong etc to make the targets sit up and take notice. Or if you have the power to cripple the other party, such as SIA pilots band together to demand for higher wages for flying the bigger airplane….yes, it probably would work. Otherwise, it would just appear as a ripple or a gentle wave over the oceans and at what costs?

    Such is the sad, no pathetic situation in our country.

  2. While I appreciate and value your opinion, I do detect an underlying current of negativity nonetheless.

    It has been thoroughly discussed time and time again in every blog that you may find the analysis of problems based on this symptomatic situation of this country. It is no longer useful to delve further in dissecting elements to obtain higher truths or enlightenment or whichever way it may prove to be of value to our deliberations.

    The point is clear. A way forward is needed. A way to restore freedom and reject repression. It cannot be obtained if we simply feel that every effort even a concerted one such as peaceful protest is a sheer waste of time. I am sure no one in Singapore as of now has ever participated in an open demonstration to voice their concerns, saved for a brave emboldened few. Surely you do not feel that their efforts are wasteful?
    Surely you do not think that it is sheer stupidity and pointless to demand freedom of expression which is your constitutional birthright as citizens?

    The very moment we break this faulty logic and engage proactively herein will steer our energy in the right direction and every thinking man will know that whatever means necessary is the reclamation of our rights as a dignified citizen.

    Waves can become tidal waves. Nature has always prove her point so easily. No man is infallible. No government last forever.

  3. A nation of Sheep begets a government of wolves – Edward R Murrow

  4. Yes, I will admit that personally I do not feel that having any kind of demonstration in current times will have much effect other than putting those with the courage to do so in jail, paying fines and having their families suffer in big or small ways.

    Not that I am on the side of people with the power to suppress, it’s just that I feel the country is being run by certain person(s) that renders such actions quite ineffective other than getting into the news. I do not feel the people who put themselves on the line to fight for freedom of speech etc as pointless and stupid. Rather it is the state of affairs and the timing.

    Also, I do feel (hope?) there will be a slight change coming, because more and more poeple are voicing and questioning the Govt’s actions, demanding more rights….but because there is a sort of legacy being handed down from the day of independence of our little country that many years ago, I feel only with the passing of the previous generation will there be much further changes, much like in a kingdom where a new kind is crowned with the passing of the old one. For not every king is born the same …..

    Like yourself, at times I feel the frustration and anger too, but when the anger fades, logic sets in and I feel to beat oneself continuously against a brick wall is pretty useless, unless u have a bulldozer behind you.

    The sheep is waking I am sure, and the wolves will be driven back in time but my wish is that no sheep will be sacrificed or harmed in the process. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  5. It is an unanimous opinion that we are unequivocally resigned to do nothing more than criticisms. It is a sad and a popular fact. We can likened ourselves to having false pretenses, shifting our responsibilities as citizens for fear of retribution.

    You need not a bulldozer in any case. The courage to speak up and question, to reject unjust policies and laws that repress. These unholy conditions are unconstitutional which only work to the advantage of the ruling party. The benefits which will enable them to maintain and harness even more power. Surely this is undemocratic. Surely amongst thinking men know this for a fact.

    Before we can enact change and reforms, the people must collectively realize the faulty logic that continues to bind them into servitude without complaint, that the perception of dire consequences which will ruin lives. To begin with, the lives of many are ruined because the able majority unwilling to advocate a dignified plea for democratic reforms. Lives of the poor attest to this; the emaciated hand that feeds on the scrummage of rubbish bins and the cold cement floor of the destitute.

    One day we will look back on this post that it no longer has a relevance because we are no longer sheep but true lions. Here is hoping.

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