Teacher, Thinker, Rebel, Why
by Jaslyn Go
Dr Chee Soon Juan, a young lecturer with the National University of Singapore, burst onto the political scene in Singapore as an opposition politician in 1992. By 1993, he had lost his job with the University, and the Singapore government run by the People's Action Party, as well as the country's main media, was painting him as untrustworthy, foolish and dishonest. Lawsuits and political stones were thrown his way, harping on his obdurate and unconventional ways of challenging the status quo. For more than two decades, a majority of Singaporeans lived with this impression. But the strange thing was that Chee did not fade away. Instead, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) he leads has grown from strength to strength -- impressing discerning Singaporeans with a level of discipline, professionalism and youthful recruitment seldom seen. In the international arena where different media and audience hold sway, Chee has achieved recognition and accolades among the political community. So who really is Chee the man? The writers in this book paint portraits of the Chee they personally know, and a different picture emerges. We get to know a man of resilience, of sincere intellect and deep patriotism. It is also a grim reminder to Singaporeans of how the combined unbridled power of a compliant media and an authoritarian government can be the biggest obstacle to truth and community.
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