Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gopalan Nair: Lee Kuan Yew suffers massive heart attack (a hoax)

Gopalan Nair wrote on his blog, Singapore Dissident, that Singapore's Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew has suffered a heart attack and is in Singapore General Hospital, along with the usual criticisms of the old leader and his regime.

For the sake for public interest and information, I shall reproduce the blog post here. It is not even April's Fools yet. If this is not true, I find it a distasteful thing to say, not of a leader, but of an ageing man. I have also posted on Gopalan's blog (pending moderation), asking for verification of his sources and stated my disbelief.

-add- Turns out the post is a hoax. It definitely has a different effect on me as a Singaporean than what Gopalan intended. I think it does not help anyone or any process. If anything, it got Gopalan some racial slurs on his blog comments for his efforts. -add-

Saturday, March 6, 2010
Singapore strongman 87 year old Lee Kuan Yew suffers massive heart attack
Ladies and Gentlemen,

According to latest reports received from Singapore a few minutes ago, the 87 year old Singapore strongman, Lee Kuan Yew, had suffered a massive heart attack at 9.34 pm yesterday Singapore time.

He is reported to be presently in the Intensive Care Cardiac Unit of the Singapore General Hospital under sedation and respiration, carefully watched by a team of doctors, with his son whom he appointed the Prime Minister and his 2 other children beside him.

It is understood his wife is also in the same hospital in a coma now for several years.

It is uncertain if he can recover at his age, and the pacemaker which he has in his heart is believed to have contributed to it.

According to reports, the pacemaker malfunctioned triggering this massive heart attack.

With the entire country run by this one man, the fear that business leaders and bankers had for very long may have finally come true; that such a happening can destroy the business confidence and cause total destruction in the small island city state.

The reason for the lack of confidence is due to the general lack of confidence in his son's, the prime minister's capacity to govern thereby creating a power vacuum with no single person able to assume control in the island.

In fact reports have been coming in that some investors have already started transferring their funds overseas creating a fear there could be a run on the banks.

There are reports that several top officials who have amassed fortunes under Lee Kuan Yew's patronage and connections have begun to have the jitters and started moving their funds overseas.

A few high ranking civil servants and judges who were responsible for human rights abuses against his political opponents have also been on alert ready to leave the island any minute.

Reports have also been coming in that peaceful protesters and demonstrators have begun assembling in small pockets at the Geylang and Mountbatten Road junction and the Orchard Road and Patterson Road junction holding placards
reading "Democracy" and "Down With the Dictator" and chanting slogans.

The situation is very fluid and I will be reporting on the situation as it unfolds. There have been numerous telephone calls to the Prime Ministers Office and the Singapore newspaper the Straits Times for information.

Gopalan Nair
Fremont, California
March 06, 2010

The rumour/post has been spreading like wildfire on the internet for the past 24 hours.
CNA Forumer OsamaBinLaden, a registered forumer since March 2 2010, said the rumour "could be true, just came back from SGH, the place is filled with policeman, have to register with NRIC to visit sick relatives. Outsiders not allowed to walk into the wards." and "no joke, security very very very strict liao, visiting hours only 12-230 and 5-830. police officer stand guard at the lifts, no 'registration pass' cannot go in."

SgForums has its own little discussion going on too.

In true panoptic Singaporean society, netizens are warning one another of the dangers of spreading such "false rumours" that might be potentially defamatory, while there are people like myself who feel that Gopalan's post pushes the envelope, mixing alleged facts with scathing criticisms. In his post, Gopalan talks of "peaceful protesters and demonstrators have begun assembling in small pockets at the Geylang and Mountbatten Road junction and the Orchard Road and Patterson Road junction holding placards reading "Democracy" and "Down With the Dictator" and chanting slogans", a sight uncommon - and often times, unreported and invisibilised - in Singapore.

Furthermore, the post paints an unsettling picture that undermines business confidence in the country. But if the "news" turns out to be true, what will actually happen? For now, let us not speculate too much, but get our mainstream press to do the work they have been paid to do. Give them the space and time to cover the news and the news of the "news". This is where professional journalists and reporters come in.

The question is whether the state and the press would want to give Gopalan Nair visibility to his blog, in the process of addressing his post and attempting to prove or disprove it. It appears that this is a very sticky situation for the PAP government, even in the face of such writings, which border on being ridiculous and damaging.

The problem with such a "rumour", is that it can only be confirmed by the mainstream media. But given the implications of such a situation, information and media management will be at its tightest. For now, we can only take this news to be false and created with no good intentions, either that, or that there is a genuine media blackout.

Twitter and online forums are going into overdrive. Forces go all ways, agreeing, disagreeing, trolling, joking, fence-sitting, and more. It is kind of ironic when given the perceived "democracy" that is the internet, we wait even more eagerly for the next mainstream media report.

Maybe the searing Singaporean heat and dry spell has got into our heads. Now there's lots of heat online.

March 8: Gopalan Nair writes that his post is a hoax and clarifies his intentions.

Updated:March 07, 2010, 1715 hrs, Pacific Standard Time.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

My last post in this blog, Saturday, March 6, 2010 "Singapore strongman 87 year old Lee Kuan Yew suffers massive heart attack", was a hoax. But the hoax was deliberately written by me. It was a deliberate attempt to highlight how tenuous Singapore really is, with all power in the island vested in one man, and the dire consequences to the island of his parting.

And especially so as he is 87.

I have received no less than 40 comments to it, with so many readers really bowled over as to what will happen. What calamity, what disaster, what misfortune! In fact it appears the Singapore General Hospital had its security tightened and the stock market is vary and keeping a watch on developments!

Is it not stupid that a mere blog like mine, which is not a major newspaper and not a news source of any major importance can be taken so seriously and cause such worry and uncertainly. I must say the overwhelming reaction to my humble blog about the Dear Leader is gratifying.

I wonder whether the recently sacked Lee Kuan Yew's Attorney General Woon Seong Ming, who is going to teach law in Singapore University, to which position he is amply qualified since it is a Singapore University after all, and not one in a democracy; will be coming out with his swan song of a lawsuit or a prosecution against me of some kind?

You never know, if he does a good job of suing me or prosecuting me this time, Lee may allow him to keep his job.

This overwhelming reaction is characteristic not among the democracies of the world which can weather the death of anyone but of Stalinist dictatorships.

You will see the same agitation and worry when Kim Jung Il kicks the bucket and so will the Cubans when Raul Castro or Fidel does the same to it.

This is what I have been telling Singaporeans all along. I do not really know one way or the other whether Lee Kuan Yew has had any heart attacks because even if he did, as is the custom in Stalinist closed societies, you are not going to be told of it.

At the same time, I do not know if the 87 year old octogenarian had run the mile in under 3 minutes yesterday.

In fact I don't know anything. And neither do you. And that my friends is the story of living in Lee Kuan Yew's Singapore.

And let me tell you something. Even though I made up everything I said about Dear Leader about his heart attack, and none of it is true, I can assure you that the scenario that I painted assuming that he dies is completely correct.

And even if he did not have the heart attack yesterday and is not housed in the Intensive Care Cardiac Unit of Singapore General Hospital at present, if in fact that had happened, which I am sure is likely to happen this week or next, given his being a tottering old man of 87 years of age, all that I said is going to happen very soon.

Noone can live forever.

Those with money will begin transferring it abroad, there will be a run on the banks, his corrupt friends at the top will be leaving with their money and their lives, there will be demonstrations at the junctions of Geylang Road and Mountbatten Road and Orchard Road and Patterson Road. There will be mayhem. And it will happen soon.

My advice to those in Singapore with their cerebrums intact is this, if you can stand and protest the system, do it for your own good. Bring about a new Singapore. One that does not rely completely on an 87 year old tin pot.

If not pack up your belongings and your families and fly Qantas to Australia or some other safer country. Singapore is not longer safe.

And now, as someone had intimated, since this report of his having a heart attack was a deliberate fabrication, I have been advised that Lee Kuan Yew, as is the custom of Stalinist strongmen around the world, will either sue me or if he cannot do it, shoot me.

I am holding my breath.

Postscript: I think my writing the hoax about Dear Leader Lee Kuan Yew may in fact contribute to his demise sooner, due to the stress of it. Stress and tension contribute to heart attacks, especially in 87 year old men.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

Ouch, I don't think we are worth this experiment. On the one level, Gopalan might reveal how Singaporeans will behave. On the next level, there will be implications on the credibility of the internet, which has long been establishing itself as a viable source of information. That said, we can definitely do without such hoaxes and distasteful speculations. This does not help Singaporeans nor Singaporean netizens one bit.

Wishing someone's death is not the best strategy, even against someone who has committed atrocities and human rights violations. You should be the better man and not stoop as low, if not lower than, as your oppressor. If anything, it might generate more support and sympathy for the Minister Mentor, and to a small extent, his party. It will only make you look malicious and petty.

Since Gopalan has admitted the hoax, there is really nothing much to say now, right?


DK said...

I wouldn't take his words seriously

Sam Ho said...

I don't think any one will take him serious from now.

Perhaps his intentions are too profound for most of us, because instead of questioning the government and PAP, we're questioning Gopalan himself and his sources, and chastising him for such bold unfounded posts.

Augustin said...

I think it is a step back for freedom of the media. If anything, he might be used as an excuse for the further tightening of censorship rules to prevent undue anxiety. In the debate between security vs. rights, he has sought to upset the balance without concern for the future and feelings of Singaporeans still living in this land we call home.

Sam Ho said...

it is a step back.

i think his parody/hypothesising didn't work.

i hope there wouldn't be a backlash from the state on us singaporeans on the internet.

skeptic said...

I respected him for his comments on Chee Soon Juan's court case but this latest comment destroyed his credibility. I bet the PAP are chuckling to themselves.

He has alienated himself from the online community of dissenters.

Sam Ho said...

i believe that we can't tackle the PAP with opinion, but with facts and our very own solutions.

in the singaporean political domain, which is full of arrogance and lack of empathy, we need people who are proud to be human, and unafraid to be humble.

i think it's a little bit out of character and style what gopalan did. he used to provide facts with criticism. now he provides hypothetical fantasy with criticism

rhubini said...

hey. this hoax is really annoying. although it has thrown our beliefs of credibility on citizen journalism into doubt, on the less negative side, it has made us wonder with a little severity about the aftermath of such an event.

Andrew said...

massive heart attack that is terrible if this happend there is ahigh probability of die so i was wondering that if i take generic viagra i have a chance to have a heard attack?