(Unpublished - Dec 10, 2009)
I wish to the write to the ST Forum about security in Singapore.
We live today in a Singapore that is relatively safe from threats to internal security, such as terrorism or violent ideology.
However, is our short history of homeland security fraught with human rights abuses, particularly detentions without trail and tortures to alleged political dissidents?
It could be ironic when we as a nation are standing up for democracy and human rights, exemplified in our calls for the release of Burmese political detainee Aung San Suu Kyi, without ever properly reconciling with a past that has been allegedly peppered with abuses.
There have been ex-political detainees who have spoken up and reflected on their time in detention. Their views and statements appear to be buried in history, and I believe Singaporeans are building on a selective history being dictated to us.
One way to clear the air is to provide a larger public platform for all parties to air their views, with truth and without fear. This young nation has some secrets that the younger generation like myself would be interested in knowing.
I hope the press will pick this newsworthy issue up, as it concerns the history and relationship between citizens and the state, and has an impact on how we can achieve a better form of governance.
Surely there is some truth when a group of elderly individuals step forward over the past few years and spoken about their detention, torture and interaction with detention officers and enforcers of the law.
The truths in our past may be hindered by mortality, security classification and media blackouts, but I feel we are mature enough today to confront it with humility and an open mind.
I hope the media and government can give this some attention.
It is from our history that we learn how to make a better future for ourselves.
Ho Chi Sam