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Condolence letter

Otterman talked about the condolence letter written by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to the sons of JBJ, which triggered me to go google and read about it.

30 September 2008
Mr Kenneth Jeyaretnam
Mr Philip Jeyaretnam

Dear Kenneth and Philip Jeyaretnam

I was sad to learn that your father, Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, has passed away.

Mr JB Jeyaretnam was a Member of Parliament for Anson constituency from 1981 till 1986, and a Non-Constituency Member of Parliament from 1997 till 2001. He used to engage in heated debates in the House. Perhaps it was because he and the PAP never saw eye to eye on any major political issue and he sought by all means to demolish the PAP and our system of government. Unfortunately, this helped neither to build up a constructive opposition nor our Parliamentary tradition. Nevertheless, one had to respect Mr JB Jeyaretnam’s dogged tenacity to be active in politics at his age.

However, our differences were not personal. In 1993, one of you (Kenneth) wrote to Mr Goh Chok Tong, who was then Prime Minister, to say that you found employers in Singapore reluctant to offer you a job, and your only explanation was that the employers felt the authorities would not welcome your employment because of your name. Mr Goh replied with a letter which could be shown to prospective employers, to say that the government did not hold anything against you, and that employers should evaluate you fairly on your own merits, like any other candidate, because Singapore needed every talented person that it could find. Mr Goh had previously made the same point to your brother Philip, whom he had invited to lunch. I am therefore happy that both of you have established yourselves in Singapore.

Please accept my deepest condolences.

Yours sincerely
Lee Hsien Loong

I think there are enough buzz about how inappropriate this “condolence letter” was written, I mean, you won’t attend someone’s funeral, and tell the deceased’s son things like, “Aiya, you know what, your father owe me 1k since 10 years ago ah, I never even ask him to pay back. Today I come and pay ‘white gold’ (帛金/白金) some more…” right?

This commentary condemning the letter tells more…

It’s the second component that makes me pen down this blog entry. Why does it sound sooooo familiar? Ah well, just recently, the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah state Raymond Tan “confessed” that he’d influenced the Prime Minister of Malaysia to stop an ACA investigation, and hence an arrest of Yong Teik Lee, the maverick leader of SAPP which announced to have left BN weeks ago… Yong is Raymond’s party boss anyway~

Such claim was blasted “most blatant BN own goal”, while Voxpop from Malaysiakini asked “Shouldn’t Raymond and PM investigated?”. You are GOD when you are PM. You are above everything! 😀

I don’t know how good Senior Minister Mr Goh in soccer and I’m not even sure what’s the name of ACA’s equivalent in Singapore, but I won’t be happy if I know sons and daughters of opposition leaders in my country need to apply for letters from PM to seek for jobs.

Being an opposition is never easy in my country. I mean, we all heard about how certain MP resigned his/her job to stand for election due to different political allegiance. We heard about how opposition elect representatives are being blocked from entering schools, even a reunion function held outside the school.

The fear created by the government, I mean BN or PAP government which embraces autocratic values, is just too much that to most of the people, standing against the government is WRONG! It means you don’t love the country! It means your son and daughter don’t deserve any job!

Now I know why I need to write in my father and mother’s, even siblings’ details when interviewing for a job. I remember I once not filled in those details when applying for jobs. Errr, How does my family’s background affect my ability in performing your job ah?

Categories: Politics
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  1. October 9, 2008 at 10:58 pm

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