(英文中文版)Tribute to Tan Jing Quee 向陈仁贵同志致敬


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 17

Appendix V:Lim Hock Siew’s writings, statements, speeches and interviews

 Tribute to Tan Jing Quee

Lim Hock Siew

It is with a very heavy heart that I write of one of my closest comrades, Tan Jing Quee. Our relationship dated back to his days in the University Socialist Club.

Jing Quee joined the University Socialist Club and became one of the prominent and very active members. Our relationship was based on our common socialist conviction and ideals. In the club’s forums and discussions, he distinguished himself with his profound knowledge of philosophy, economics and socialist ideologies. I was deeply impressed by his knowledge of socialist ideals, its application in the political struggle at that time. He became the president of the University Socialist Club and the editor of the club’s organ Fajar.

During one of the club’s forums, Jing Quee was emphatic that the role of a socialist was basically different from that of a social welfare worker – the socialist’s role was to struggle for a social economic system that totally eradicated the source of poverty and social injustice. The social welfare worker on the other hand, merely indulged in symptomatic relief of the illness of a capitalist society.

A few weeks before I was arrested in February 1963 during Operation Cold Store, Jing Quee and a few other Socialist Club members came to see me at my home to discuss what they could do after our expected arrest. They were fully aware of their own arrest and detention should they take part in in that period but he displayed total determination to take up the challenge.

While in prison I learnt that Jing Quee had graduated from the university and instead of taking up a lucrative job, he plunged himself into the trade union movement with a meager pay. He became the paid Secretary of the Singapore Business Houses Employees’ Union (SBHEU) and devoted himself to the improvement of the working conditions Of the members of that union composed of mainly English educated workers. In September 1963, he took part in the general election as a candidate for the Barisan Sosialis and was nearly elected. losing by a mere 200 plus votes to a PAP minister. As expected, after the general election, he together with other Barisan Sosialis candidates were arrested and detained without trial.

When he was released in 1966, the SBHEU was already banned and Barisan Sosialis was rendered ineffective by repeated waves of repression. Jing Quee decided to leave Singapore for UK to study law. In London, he helped to take care of Lim Chin Siong who was exiled from Singapore after he suffered a bout of acute depression.


After returning to Singapore as a lawyer, Jing Quee continued his interest in Singapore politics and in 1977 he was again arrested under the ISA together with about 20 other lawyers, graduates, trade unionists and political activists. During that detention, Jing Quee like most Other detainees, Was subjected to mental and physical torture which he had vividly described in his poem “ISA Detainee”.

He was released three months later but Jing Quee became even more resolute rather than cowed by his detention. He devoted himself to writing the alternative history of Singapore. His research in the British Archives revealed shocking evidence of the degree of collaboration and conspiracy of the PAP leaders with the British colonial authority. All these evidence form part of the books which he had edited namely, Comet In Our Sky and The Fajar Generation. Subsequently in spite of his terminal illness, he struggled valiantly to complete the editing of The May 13 Generation and the translation of The Mighty Wave even though he was very ill. In fact he was totally blind and physically disabled. He remained mentally alert and his fighting spirit was very high. He took part in the launch of the two books in Singapore and despite the fact that he was under medical treatment for his terminal illness, he travelled to KL and Penang to help launch the books. Even in the last days of his life, he was embarking on another book, on Operation Cold Store. His untimely death has deprived us of an intellectual who had devoted his life to the socialist cause. I am proud to salute a brave and dedicated socialist warrior, Comrade Tan Jing Ouee.











他出任新加坡商行雇员联合会(Singapore Business Houses Employees’ Union (SBHEU))的受薪秘书,尽心尽力争取改善工会会员的工作待遇;该会会员大多数是受英文教育的工作者。在19639月,他以社阵候选人参身份,参加大选,差一点当选,仅以200多票之差,输给一名行动党部长。一如所料,在大选过后,他与社阵的其他候选人一起被捕,不经审讯遭监禁。







(英文中文版本)Dr Lim Hock Siew’s speech at the launch of The Fajar Genearation 林福寿医生于2009年11月14日在《华惹时代风云》发布会的讲话


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 16

Appendix IV:Lim Hock Siew’s writings, statements, speeches and interviews


Dr Lim Hock Siew’s speech at the launch of The Fajar Genearation

My contribution to this book is very modest. Because of my illhealth,I’ve not been able to write too much. It comprises mainly of a statement which I made when I was in prison in 1972, after 9 years of incarceration.

As you know, I was detained in Operation Coldstore in February the 2nd 1963, and I was the last one to come out from the batch of detainees almost 20 years later. Now this statement mainly stated my stand on my detention.

After 9 years of incarceration, they wanted me to issue a statement to firstly support the so-called democratic system of Singapore, and secondly to renounce politics. I told them that these two demands are self-contradictory, because if there is parliamentary democracy, then I don’t have to give up politics.

So they said, “You must say something to show repentance other wise Lee Kuan Yew will lose face.” For me this not a question of pride, it’s a question of principle. In the first place, if a person has to save his face by depriving somebody else of his fundamental rights, then that’s not a face that’s worth saving.

So the, the main democratic right is a fundamental constitutional right of the people of Singapore. And no one should be deprived of their right, and held ransom to extort statements of repentance and contrition. So the whole thing bogged down to having to issue a statement of repentance, which I refused.

Subsequently, I was detained for another almost 10 years, after that statement was issued. So a total of 19 years and eight months, 14 November 2009 longer than a life sentence. Life sentences will be released after 13 years, after the initial one-third remission, but for no charge, no trial, I was detained for longer than life sentences.

A lot of hullabaloo have been said recently on the right of political detainees to appeal to an Advisory Board. I want to tell you about my experience in this Advisory Board.After about one year of detention, I was asked to the prison main gate at about 4pm, and a statement of notice to say that I had to appear before the Advisory Board the next day, and I was given a two fool-scap paper of so-called charge sheets.

I said I wanted to keep these sheets of paper so I could prepare for my next morning’s appearance. They said, “No, you cannot keep it. Just read it and we’ll take it back.”

I said I want to inform my lawyer about this. They said, “No, you have the right to inform your lawyer, but you cannot telephone him now.” I said, “In that case, how do I contact my lawyer?” He said, “That’s the law.”

So the next morning I was called to the High Court in handcuffs and all that to appear before an Advisory Board comprising three persons. A judge called Judge Winslow and two other persons. One is a certain Elias, I think he’s a lawyer, and the other one a Chinese gentleman whose name I cannot remember.

So, on these so-called charge sheets, there were a lot of blank spaces.

I asked Judge Winslow what do these blank spaces mean? He said, “Oh, these are charges which are so sensitive that they can be shown only to the Advisory Board but not to you.”

I said, “How the hell can anybody defend himself against a charge that’s not even revealed to him?” I asked him for advice, he just said shrugged shoulder. I said, “Is this a mockery of justice or what?” He said, “This is the law.”

You see, the whole thing is a judicial farce. I mean, it’s incredible that anyone has to face this kind of mockery, this kind of so-called justice, and the fact that a High court judge is being put as the chairman of this Advisory Board gives the public an illusion that there is justice, And I told him that if I were a High court judge, I would not lend credence to this mockery by my presence.

Then this Elias threatened me with contempt of court. I was very happy when he with contempt of court, because after all I was already in prison, so threatening me with contempt of court and all that makes no difference to me. By the way, in my 20 years in prison, I was detained in practically all the prisons in Singapore, except of course the female prison.

In the end, the judge said, “No, no, let the doctor have his say, there’s no question of contempt of court.” So I gave a three-hour statement to debunk all the so-called charges. One of the charges was in fact a false charge.

I was charged for being one of the right Fajar students who were charged for sedition. I said, “As a matter of fact, I didn’t have the privilege to be one of the eight. In fact, I would be flattered to be one of the eight, and that I was not one of the eight. So why should I be imprisoned for allegedly being one of the eight, when these eight were acquitted without being called, and acquitted and defended by Lee Kuan Yew himself, who is now detaining me?”

He said, “This is the law.”

Everything is the law. So recently you have heard all this socalled rule of law. Now there is detention without trial by ISA [Internal Security Act], a law which makes a mockery of the concept of rule of law. It is a law that is outside the rule of law. Once you are detained under the ISA, you have no legal defence whatsoever.

I tried the habeas corpus twice. On one occasion I succeeded on the technical error on the side of the government–they did not sign my detention order. It was supposed to be signed by a minister, but it was delegated to a civil servant. So on that account the court has to release me on a technical point.

So when I was released, there was the Special Branch waiting for me outside Queenstown Prison. I was re-arrested one minute later. It was a mock release. And for that habeas corpus, I was punished and sent to the most hideous of all detention centres, the Central Police Station headquarters.

That was a place that is not fit to keep animals let alone human beings. The place was so dark, so stinky and so ill-ventilated that you cannot stand inside for more than 24 hours, but I was locked in there for 24 hours a day. And the whole place was infested with bugs. I had a lot of bugs for company.

No reading material and the light was so dim that I could hardly see the crease of my hand. So immediately the five of us went on hunger strike, and my ulcer bled and I had to be transferred to hospital. That was the so-called habeas corpus right there you have. Try it at your risk, or be severely punished.

The second time I went for habeas corpus case was when they tried to force me to do manual labour. That was in 1972. They said all detainees should do manual labour as a programme of rehabilitation. I was supposed to do carpentry. So this superintendent told me that it was good for you as a doctor, you try to become more dexterous with your hand.

So I said, “You do not have the qualifications to enter a medical college, and here you are telling a doctor what is good for postgraduate education. Are you over-reaching yourself ?”

He said, “This is the law. You have to be paid 8 cents a day.” So we all went on hunger strike, and some of us went on hunger strike for three months in order to frustrate their attempt to make us labourers like criminals. I went on hunger strike for three weeks before they came in and said, “Okay, we exempt you from that.” And the women detainees in Moon Crescent Centre went on hunger strike for 130 days, and they were forced-fed. Some of them vomited after being fed milk by the tube inserted forcefully into their oesophagus.

One girl vomited and the superintendent forced for wardens to carry her and wiped the floor with her pants. This is the kind of treatment meted to detainees. All these of course suppressed by the press, but this is the thing we all had to go through.

Now all of us had to go through detention in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement according to Lee Kuan Yew himself is a very bad form of torture. I will read to you what Lee Kuan Yew said of solitary confinement: “The biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli.

That is real torture.” Lee Kuan Yew, January 2008.

Although he knows it is real torture, he had no compunction in meting out this real torture to all detainees without exception. Some of us had to undergo this real torture, not for one day, two days, but for six months.

Now under the law, there is a protection for even criminal prisoners from this kind of torture.

A criminal prisoner when found guilty of infringing prison rules will be sentenced to solitary confinement for not more than two weeks, because of the obvious mental health effects. But for political detainees, there is no protection.

And Lee Eu Seng, the general manager of Nanyang Siang Pao, was put into solitary confinement not once but twice, and it is to his credit he withstood that kind of real torture.

TT Rajah, a lawyer who was detained for two and half years, was put under solitary confinement for six months. Said Zahari was put into solitary confinement four times in his long 17 years of detention.

It is to our credit that we did not back down despite our difficult ordeal.

We stood our ground and held on to our integrity. Today, they are asking us to be magnanimous. What does magnanimity mean? Only those who have suffered have the moral right, the moral standing to be magnanimous, not the culprit.

The culprit can seek forgiveness, if they admit their mistakes and apologise for it. Not for the victims of this torture to seek forgiveness. We are the ones who have to be magnanimous, and we are prepared to be magnanimous provided the culprits admit their mistakes and seek our forgiveness.

In my statement which I released to the press in 1972, through my wife Beatrice Chen, and which was of course suppressed by the newspapers, but was distributed a lot to all student organisations –I said the proper way to settle our case is that you must release us without conditions. Unconditional release. Moreover, you must compensate us for our long detention and also apologise. I said I’m prepared to forgo these two last conditions of having to compensate us and also having to apologise to us because I don’t believe an arrogant man like Lee Kuan Yew would concede easily.

On that question of release unconditionally that we stand firm, I stood firm and had to suffer for two decades. That is the price that we had to pay for our integrity.

In Singapore, we have a situation where the government leaders said they have integrity that has to be sustained by the highest pay in the world, but yet they demand from political opponents and detainees an integrity that has to be sustained by the longest imprisonment in the world.

These kind two types of integrity, to compare them is to compare heaven and earth. Why should anybody has to sacrifice so much just to sustain his integrity and his beliefs? And the government have to reward themselves with so much high pay. This is the immorality of the political situation in Singapore today.

Now, detention without trial is not a peaceful action. It is an act of violence. They come to see you not in the daylight with an invitation card. They come in the morning, 4am. That is the time when decent people sleep, and when political terrorists and tyrants strike. And when you are detained, you are subjected to all kinds of mental and even physical torture. This is not only unique for the 1963 batch, it was also practised in many other batches of detention: 1972, and as late as 1987. When Teo Soh Lung and her group of so-called marxist detainees were subjected to mental and physical torture. And women lawyers can be subjected to torture. But when these women lawyers came out and issued a statement to describe how they have been tortured, they were again detained and compelled to withdraw their accusation.

What type of rule of law is that when the accuser can be punished by the accused against the government, and compelled to withdraw their accusation? Is it not a rule of law justice turned upside down? Now this is a situation where even the Law Society dare not utter a word of protest. They are so impotent after what they had done to the Law Society in 1987.

Now, Poo Soo Kai has written a very good article on Operation Coldstore. In it, he has revealed a lot of declassified British archive documents, showing how the British and Lee Kuan Yew conspired and collaborated to crush the opposition before the 1963 General Elections. The whole aim of this merger was to crush the opposition before the 1963 elections.

And today, the PAP is standing on high moral ground, demanding human rights in other countries, even demanding the realise of political detainees in Myanmar. But precisely on what moral ground are they standing to have this demand? In examining their past records, they are standing on a pedestal that is leaking with worms and vermin, Let them repent first their own dismal record of human rights and then you may have the moral right to cast aspersions on other people’s lack of human rights.

Poh Soo Kai has also written the last chapter of this book “The Fajar Generation”, about the future of Socialism. Many of you may ponder what is the relevance of Socialism in this era. after 50 years when the club was formed, Socialist movements all over the world has suffered a lot of setbacks and even defeats, and some wonder whether we are still relevant.

The recent economic crisis, the recent financial crisis, has once again exploded the corruption and immorality of the capitalist system, and feel that human beings should deserve something better than a system that is generated by green and by corruption.

Now some of you may have heard that when you are young you are idealistic, when you’re old you are realistic. Now this is the kind of rubbish that is used by those who have either lost their ideals or have sold their ideals for self-interests. Each should not wither one’s ideals or convictions.

If anything, it should only consolidate and make it more resolute. If age has anything to do with it, it is only by way of expression and application of these ideals and convictions having the benefit of a youthful experience. And a life without convictions, without idealism, is a mere meaningless existence, and I’m sure most of you will agree that as human beings, we are worthy of a life much more meaningful than just that.

Thank you.















于是第二天早上我被扣上手铐带往最高法庭出席由三人组成咨询委员会的开庭听审。一名法官,他是温斯罗(A. V. Winslow)法官,以及另外两人。一人是一位叫什么Elias的,我猜想他是名律师,以及另一名华人绅士,但我忘了他的名字叫什么。

















1972年我通过妻子陈宗孟(Beatrice Chen)发表了一份声明书,当然的,报章都遮盖了这件事,但学生组织却广泛传阅――我说正确的解决方法是在没有条件要求的情况下释放我们。无条件释放。此外,你要对我们的长期囚禁作出赔偿并进行道歉。我说我愿意放弃这最后的两项条件,既赔偿和道歉,因为我不相信像李光耀这样自大傲慢的人会轻易的让步。对于无条件释放的一项――我们的立场是坚定的。我坚持了立场,为此而遭受了20年的苦难。这就是我为了我们的尊严而付出的代价。













Tribute to Lim Chin Siong 向林清祥致敬


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。



The People’s Hero’s article 15

Appendix III:  Lim Hock Siew’s writings, statements, speeches and interviews

 Tribute to Lim Chin Siong

 Lim Hock Siew

On the evening of 5 February this year (1996), a most humane and valiant heart stopped beating — Chin Siong left this mortal world!

Friends, comrades, before us lies the body of not an ordinary person. Chin Siong is a hero — a national hero – a legend in the glorious history of our people’s struggle for freedom and social justice.

We are here to honour, to cherish, indeed, to consolidate the noble spirit in which Chin Siong had lived his life.

Chin Siong attained a level of human consciousness that transcends all personal gains and greed, to serve his fellowmen, fully and whole- heartedly.

His was a consciousness that had no place for arrogance and conceit — only humility. His strength, his courage, arose only from his deep love and concern for the plight of his fellow human beings — a love that recognised no racial or cultural barriers.

Those who were poor, downtrodden,‘those who were oppressed, were his friends. Those who sought to deny our people their right to justice and dignity regarded Chin Siong as their enemy.

But the strength and nobility of Chin Siong’s character were selfevident to all those who had come to know him. He was an extremely kind, gentle and compassionate person. His actions were motivated purely by his love for his fellowmen, not by hatred against any particular person.

He had no personal enemies, only high principles and noble causes to which he dedicated his entire life. He was a political leader who sought no personal gain or reward, and certainly not for pay. Nor was he tempted by privileges and trappings of high office, or deterred by deprivation of personal freedom.

As a trade union leader, he totally identified himself with the common worker whose cause he so fearlessly and uncompromisingly championed. He led a most simple life, and very often, his bed was the wooden bench in the union headquarters at Middle Road.

To this day, many workers of his generation still fondly remember Chin Siong for what he had done for the workers in the 1950s and 1960s.

But it was as a political leader that Chin Siong will be best remembered and respected.

No amount of distortion by his detractors can conceal the factthat Chin Siong was the most fearless and uncompromising fighter against British colonialism in Singapore.

The colonial authority had not relinquished its rule simply because some person or persons could reason with it in impeccable English.

Colonial authority respects only the strength of the people and it was during that crucial stage of our people’s anti-colonial struggle that Chin Siong played the pivotal role in rallying and mobilising our people to free themselves from the degradation and humiliation of colonial rule.

His ability to communicate with the common man, his ability to ex- plain complex political issues in simple layman’s language, his complete identification with the oppressed and downtrodden — these were the hallmarks of Chin Siong’s political leadership — a leader whose ability, sincerity and dedication aroused the people to free themselves from colonial domination.

But Chin Siong did not struggle only for Singapore’s independence. His struggle had always been to attain Singapore’s independence in a truly united and democratic Malaya, including Singapore.

He strongly opposed the terms of Singapore’s merger into Malaysia because he was totally convinced that the unequal terms of merger for Singapore would lead to racial disharmony and division among our people. The outbreak of racial riots after the merger in 1964 and the subsequent expulsion of Singapore from Malaysia amply exonerated Chin Siong’s stand.

But to be proven right was insufficient to earn Chin Siong’s release from imprisonment. His continued incarceration took a severe toll on his health, and in 1967, he became seriously ill. It was during the acute stage of his illness that Chin Siong was exiled from Singapore and denied his rightful role in the political life of our country.

Chin Siong was expelled from Hwa Chung High School for his con- frontation with the colonial authority over, among other things, the issue of military conscription. In those days, the colonial power did not regard our people as fit to be free but only fit to die to defend our own slavery. Although denied a formal higher education, Chin Siong, in the course of his political struggle, had graduated from the highest institution of political education — the political prison. Those who knew him could not but be impressed by his intelligence and knowledge.

Friends, comrades, it has been rightly said that the life of a person who sacrifices himself for his fellowmen is as weighty as Mt Taishan, but the life of a person who lives only for himself is as light as a bird’s feather.

Chin Siong, you have been a Taishan in our midst! Now, it’s time for you to take your well-earned rest! Sleep well, my dear comrade, sleep well! !!


Note: Dr Lim Hock Siew came in touch with and got to know Lim Chin Siong in the mid-1950s as a politically active medical undergraduate member of the Socialist Club of the University of Malaya, then located on Singapore island. Both Chin Siong and Hock Siew were leading members of the Barisan Sosialis when they were arrested and detained without trial together with well over a hundred of others in early February 1963.

The above is the text of Hock Siew’s oration as the final speaker just before Chin Siong’s cremation, attended by about two thousand mourners on the morning of Friday, 9 February 1996.

The cremation hall was jam-packed with people and many had to stand at the entrance foyer and on the grounds around the building. Some of those attending had flown in from as far as Penang. Several others had come from Kuala Lumpur. Hock Siew ended his oration with a call for an ovation of clapping to bid Chin Siong a hero’s farewell. The response was thunderous as the prolonged clapping rose to a crescendo with the moving of Chin Siong’s body away from the cremation hall to the incineration chamber.



























(英文/中文版)‘I would never lift one finger to justify my own detention’ 欲加之罪,何患无辞?我绝不轻易苟同拘禁我的正当性!


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 14

Appendices II: Lim Hock Siew’s writings, statements, speeches and interviews

 ‘I would never lift one finger to justify my own detention’

 Lim Hock Siew


This chapter is extracted from the transcripts of the series of interviews given by Dr Lim Hock Siew to the Oral History Centre that began on 5 August 1982, a month before his release on 6 September, and five months short of what would have been 20 years of his incarceration. The final interview session was held on 31 July 1986. The interviews comprise 61 reels of about half an hour each. From time to time, Lim Hock Siew expressed interest in working on the transcripts for publication. He readily gave the editors permission to form a chapter from the materials, which he would then go through and perhaps write a postscript. Sadly, this was not to be. Lim Hock Siew passed away on 4 June 2012 at the age of 81, when the first draft of this chapter was just about ready to be reviewed by him. Judging from the speeches that he had given in the last decade nothing had happened in the intervening two decades that would make him any less scathing of the People’s Action Party (PAP). – Hong Lysa

In the last five years of his life Lim Hock Siew saw signs of the fading fortunes of the PAP. He was excited about the changes brought about by the alternative media and emerging social forces. Even though he was in poor health, having to undergo kidney dialysis three times a week, he would drive to work at Rakyat Clinic in his old Mercedes every day. He worked half a day and back home he would spend a large part of his time browsing the internet. He kept up to date with political developments in Singapore. He was supportive of the opposition and was always happy to meet young people who were bringing about change. He willingly shared his experiences with them. He minced no words about his great dislike and distrust of Lee Kuan Yew. Lim Hock Siew refused to put his signature to a document that would have secured his own freedom but which, to his mind, had nothing to do with national security. He thus denied Lee this satisfaction. Although soft-spoken and mild-mannered, he was a powerful orator on his feet. He spoke without notes at the launch of The Fajar Generation in 2009 and at other public and private functions. He was a man of steel, sacrificing a warm family life with his wife and then five-monthold son for his political beliefs and democracy for Singapore. – Teo Soh Lung

 Growing-up Years

I am the third of a family of 10 children; my parents were completely illiterate. My father was orphaned from childhood. He sold fish in the Kandang Kerbau market, close to where we lived in Campbell Lane. It was a poor people’s area with mainly Chinese residents, but there were a good number of Indians and Malays as well. We were a closeknit family, with loving parents who encouraged us to study to as high a level as we could.

The environment I was brought up in enlightened me on the problems and difficulties facing the poor. It was a political education in itself, giving more meaning to the theoretical knowledge which I later acquired on my own, and strengthening my socialist outlook on life. I was also inspired by my younger brothers and my younger sister who were especially politically active in the 1950s and 1960s. Students from the Chinese-medium schools like them played a very active role in the political struggle of our people. However, my Mandarin at the time was poor, and I did not have any serious discussions with them. Also, I was hardly home as I was preoccupied with my university studies and activities. My parents understood and supported what my siblings and I were doing. My family was morally behind me when I was in prison.

I started my primary education in 1936 at the Anglo-Tamil School in Hastings Road and later transferred to Rangoon Road School. In 1941, when I had completed standard three, the war broke out. Like most Chinese men at the time, my father was put in a concentration camp, but he was released, most probably because he was obviously uneducated. We managed to get used to the deprivations, the strenuous life, and the sense of apprehension – of not knowing what was going to happen next. When the Japanese surrendered, race riots broke out in Kampong Kapor where we lived. Gangsters took law and order into their own hands. The police, predominantly Malays, locked themselves up in Kandang Kerbau police station, in fear that they would be assaulted. The Japanese had used the police to suppress the Chinese hawkers in the area. I witnessed a Malay boy who ventured out to buy food being attacked by a dozen Chinese boys. Within minutes his body was a mashed heap of flesh and blood.

We were relieved when the British returned, for at least law and order was reestablished. However, a transformation had occurred. The inculcation in English-medium schools that it was a privilege to be ruled by the British and the abject admiration for the colonial system were demolished. My parents insisted I return to Rangoon Road School. At the end of two terms I enrolled in Raffles Institution.

My schoolmates came from different feeder schools. We were awed by the so-called elite atmosphere of Raffles Institution. I took history as one of my subjects. We were pumped with rubbish about the glories and achievements of colonial builders like Robert Clive, even though India gained independence in 1947. The teachers made no effort to explain the significance of historic events that were happening around us. Like in other English schools, students at Raffles Institution were politically apathetic. Every time some Tom, Dick or Harry was invited to address our school, he would start by extolling the virtues of Raffles and hail us as ‘future leaders’ of our country. I thus felt an obligation to enlighten myself about current political events by reading in the Raffles Library. I read Nehru and other Indian leaders’ accounts of their struggle for independence. Nehru’s letters to his daughter in particular gave me a completely different picture to what we studied as history. It changed my life. I also took part in school debates and in an interschool oratorical contest in 1949. The topics, however, were frivolous ones like whether romantic love interfered with academic studies. I was also on the editorial boards of the school magazine and the combined schools magazine.

I worked hard at my studies, managing to be at the top of my standard throughout my secondary schooldays, while also participating in extracurricular activities. I would say I was an allrounder trying to make the best use of every opportunity in school. I wanted to take up architecture, but could not afford to go abroad for higher studies. So like almost every student applying for admission to the University of Malaya, I put medicine as my first choice. I have no regrets, for it is a very good form of humanitarian studies, not only a professional course.

University Life and Political Developments in the 1950s

 My first year at university in 1951 was a very packed one as I had to take the basic science subjects which Raffles Institution did not offer because of the lack of facilities immediately following the war. Ragging was then permitted, and of a rather ferocious type, in the medical faculty. I allowed myself to be ragged but campaigned for its abolition, which was achieved only in 1957. In my first year I was involved in the founding of the Non-Hostelite Organisation that catered to about 40 per cent of the student population, and in 1955 I helped found its official organ Pelandok. I was a member of the students’ council for three sessions and its chairman for one of them. I was also on the editorial boards of Malayan Undergrad, the students’ union newsletter, and of Fajar, the organ of the University Socialist Club.

The vast majority of undergraduates then were immersed in their academic studies and totally disinterested in politics. I would say that objectively their apathy and passivity in politics resulted in their playing a reactionary role in our people’s struggle for national independence. Nevertheless, the university was not totally quiescent. In January 1951 the police raided the university and arrested six people. I was shocked and angry at how easy it was for the government to invade the university and put them into prison under the Emergency Regulations without charge or trial. I thought that there would have been some sanctity, some kind of academic freedom within the university. The political realities gave me a big jolt. The students’ union sent representatives to visit the students in prison to see how they were faring. They could bring food, books and other items. The colonial government was thus more liberal than the PAP government was to be in its treatment of political detainees.

The University Socialist Club was formed at a time when colonial peoples worldwide were clamouring for national independence. As university students, we felt an acute sense of obligation and responsibility to be involved in our people’s struggle. The club was meant to provide students with an opportunity to meet, discuss, enlighten and educate themselves, and to express their views on political issues. We did not envisage an active role in the political struggle. Its founders openly declared their socialist convictions, and their support for an independent, united and socialist Malaya which included Singapore. We were concerned not only with the question of freeing our country from colonial rule but also how to solve the tremendous social and economic problems confronting our people after independence.

My close friends at university mostly came from the University Socialist Club. Like me, most of them were to be imprisoned either in Singapore or in Malaysia. They included Dr Poh Soo Kai; Dr M.K. Rajakumar, chairman of the Labour Party, Selangor branch; Sandrasegeram (Sandra) Woodhull, secretary of the Naval Base Labour Union; James J. Puthucheary of the Singapore Factory and Shop Workers’ Union; Jamit Singh, secretary of the Singapore Harbour Board Staff Association; Lim Shee Ping, a paid staff member of the Singapore Business Houses Employees’ Union; A. ahadeva, secretary of the National Union of Journalists in Singapore; Linda Chen; Tan Jing Quee and so on. Kassim Ahmad and Syed Husin Ali, who were imprisoned in Malaysia when they were leaders of Partai Rakyat Malaysia, were also my compatriots at the university.

The University of Malaya students reacted strongly to the violence that the riot police inflicted on the Chinese middle school students on 13 May 1954 when they gathered to petition for exemption from national service. Some undergraduates approached the students’ union president, who then called for an emergency meeting on the night of 14 May. Around four to five hundred turned up. It was a stormy affair. Those opposed to the meeting discussed the legality of calling it at such short notice, as they could not possibly argue in support of the police action which even the press, chiefly the Singapore Standard, condemned. The majority voted in favour of continuing with the meeting; the others walked out. I gave an account of the 13 May event, which I heard from my brothers (Hock Koon in particular, who was the designated spokesperson for the student representatives’ delegation from Chung Cheng which had an appointment with the officer administering the government) and younger sister, and which generally tallied with the Singapore Standard’s account. The meeting passed a resolution strongly condemning the unwarranted use of violence against peaceful student demonstrators, and to send protest telegrams to the British prime minister, Winston Churchill, opposition leader, Clement Attlee, and the Singapore colonial authorities.

However, the students who walked out subsequently demanded an extraordinary general meeting to discuss the legality of the emergency meeting. They carried the motion, so the resolutions taken at the earlier meeting were declared null and void. There was yet another meeting where a vote of no confidence was passed against the whole student council.

The 13 May demonstrations, the arrest and trial of the Chinese middle school students and of the Fajar editorial board for alleged sedition led to an upsurge of mass political activity. Following the arrests, I became an editorial board member of Fajar, and was in charge of the Fajar Defence Fund that was set up. The trial ended in total victory for the students when charges against them were thrown out after three days.

We sensed that the time and the circumstances were ripe for a serious anticolonial party to emerge and represent the interests and aspirations of our people, in particular the workers and common people, to fight for national independence. The workers’ and the students’ organisations were an integral and the most effective anticolonial component of the original PAP. Members of the club participated in their individual capacity in its formation, and the leftwing trade unions were closely linked to the party’s leadership.

I volunteered to work for the month-long campaign in the Farrer Park constituency in the 1955 legislative assembly election, where the PAP candidate was C.V. Devan Nair, as I was familiar with the area. Devan Nair was an impressive speaker, spouting anticolonial philosophy. The substantial numbers of English-educated voters in the constituency, mostly civil servants and city council workers, were so comfortable being colonial subjects that the thought of being a free people frightened them. There was also a sizeable portion of illiterate Chinese without much political consciousness. They said frankly that they would vote for a certain person who had kindly given them five dollars.

The middle school students were capable of organizing themselves and sacrificing personal for common interests. They risked being branded as communists and imprisonment without trial. The colonial authorities were more reluctant to make such moves against University of Malaya students. The middle school students helping in Farrer Park were extremely active, disciplined and efficient. They simply informed the organisers that they would be doing work in one area, and could be left to it. Nobody provided them with lunch or transport. They passed the hat around and bought the essential materials like cloth for banners and so on. However, their spontaneity and dedication were turned against them with the insinuation that their actions were orchestrated from behind the scenes.

I arranged for mobile vans fitted with megaphones to tour not only the Farrer Park constituency but all the other PAP-contested constituencies as well. I had to pay for this from my own pocket. I passed the hat around after that, but could collect only a fraction of the sum. I asked Devan Nair for the balance of about $300. He shrugged and said, ‘Where am I going to get the money?’ That $300 was my bursary for one term, so I was broke for quite a while after that.

On polling day, I was with Lim Chin Siong, PAP candidate for Bukit Timah, as he needed an English speaker to help with talking to the election officers. The popular support that he enjoyed among the people of Bukit Timah was amazing. Without exception, he was warmly welcomed by the villagers like their own brother. He spoke their language, understood their problems and could convince them that he was incorruptible and sincere in fighting for the interests of the common man. Lim was then only 21-years-old.

The anticolonial movement was essentially a young people’s movement. The majority of the activists in the PAP branches were below 30-years-old. With the full knowledge and encouragement of the PAP leadership, the middle school students played a critical role in the election campaigns. Devan Nair was defeated, but the PAP won the other three seats, as did their candidate who ran as an independent. David Marshall’s Labour Front formed a coalition government, with the PAP in opposition.

However, the election under the Rendel Constitution was a straitjacket. The fight for independence had to come from outside the legislative assembly, through the mass movement and popular agitation, as in any colony. It was not a question of how many votes one could muster in the legislative assembly whose powers were dictated by the colonial government, but the mass support one had outside the legislature that counted. Lim Chin Siong spoke in halting English in the assembly. The language inhibited his capacity to articulate his views, but his stature and popular support underlined the importance of every word he uttered.

Socialist Club members knew that mass organisation was crucial to politics. When they left the university, Sandra Woodhull, Jamit Singh, James Puthucheary and Lim Shee Ping all entered the trade union movement. Others went to the Federation to organise unions. We considered Singapore as part of Malaya. We did not become members of the central committee of the PAP, which was elected at the various party general meetings. At the same time there was hardly any role we could play in the branches because they mainly comprised the Chinese educated.

The Chinese school students identified closely with the interests of the workers in Singapore. I think they saw that they were likely to become workers themselves when they graduated, for they had few employment prospects except for working in factories and becoming construction workers or even general labourers. The civil service was closed to them. Even though Chinese was the language of the majority, it was not recognised as an official language, nor were Malay or Tamil. A person highly educated in Chinese was considered an illiterate when he turned up at a government counter, which might be staffed by someone who did not even have a Cambridge school certificate. The Chinese were more vocal against this gross discrimination because of their numbers and ability to organize themselves.

Their identification with the workers was also based on their anticolonial political conviction. The students were politically mature, with a sense of responsibility towards society, for they felt privileged within their community for the opportunity to have an education.They wanted to help the workers and the general population to improve their lot, which could come about only with national independence. This alliance between workers and students was significant in bringing about the formation of the PAP and its 1959 electoral victory.

The Lim Yew Hock government tried to demonstrate its reliability to the colonial authorities by banning a number of social organizations including the Singapore Chinese Middle School Students’ Union, arresting more than a hundred activists, and expelling 140 students in September 1956. Further arrests were made in October, forcing the students into taking action. In protest, the middle school students camped at Chinese High School and Chung Cheng High School. After two weeks the government issued an ultimatum that troops would be sent in on 25 October 1956. My friends and I were outside the gates of Chinese High that evening, along with four to five hundred people who seemed to be farmers and people from nearby villages. They were shouting and booing at the police, who fired tear gas. Violence broke out and spread to other localities. A curfew was imposed. Thirteen people died, were injured and about a thousand were arrested. In the legislative assembly, Lee Kuan Yew stated categorically that he was convinced that the riot was not caused by subversive groups, and that the police should have dispersed the crowds before the situation turned ugly. He also said that if the riots did not occur, Lim Chin Siong and others would have been arrested on another occasion, on some other pretext.

With this demonstration of his trustworthiness to the British, Lim Yew Hock led a small delegation to the second merdeka (independence) mission in London in March 1957. The first round of talks led by David Marshall had been doomed to fail as there was no prior agreement on the part of the multiparty participants from Singapore. The British government simply layed pucks with them. It did not trust Marshall, suspecting that he would not be firm enough to control the situation. The second round of constitutional talks did obtain an agreement that there would be a fully elected assembly, answerable to the people. But it was merely what the British felt was safe for them to give at that stage of our struggle, considering their vested interests.

During this period, I was very busy with my final year of studies and did not go out of my way to talk to party members on this matter, but still had the impression that they were not enthusiastic about the whole thing. With the key anticolonialist leaders in jail, the British had to make some concessions. The elected government, however, did not have full control over internal security. In retrospect, it is clear that Lee Kuan Yew at the time did not necessarily want the people of Singapore to have such control. I also had a feeling that various party members whom I was in contact with were unhappy with the exclusion of political detainees from participating in the country’s first general election. Despite The Straits Times playing up the success of the merdeka mission public reaction was lukewarm at best, for widespread contempt for Lim Yew Hock prevailed.

Marshall was critical of the mission, claiming that it obtained even less than what the British were prepared to give to the first merdeka mission which he led. Lee Kuan Yew was quite unhappy with the support that Marshall was getting from some sections of the PAP members and the trade unionists. He resigned and asked for a mandate via a by-election to vindicate himself, as it were, on his stand on the second merdeka mission. He grabbed at the opportunity to do so during the legislative assembly debate, though Marshall’s off-thecuff challenge to him to do so was ruled out of order by the speaker. I subsequently learned that the by-election had in fact already been seriously contemplated in order for Lee to disassociate himself from Lim Yew Hock.

Before the PAP’s fourth annual general meeting scheduled for 4 August 1957 we had heard that groups of mainly trade unionists within the party were planning to oust Ong Eng Guan from the central executive committee (CEC), as they were unhappy with his attacks on the trade unionists made at various party meetings. We, the University Socialist Club members, felt that such open battle would create discontent and disunity within the party. If Ong, the party treasurer, was ousted, Lee might fear that he himself was similarly vulnerable. We tried to meet them, and after much difficulty got to talk to Chen Say Jame, Goh Boon Toh and Tan Chong Kim. The three trade unionists gave us a polite hearing, and said they would consider our views. We knew they had already made up their minds. The result was that six pro-Lee and six pro-trade union candidates were elected to the CEC. Ong was ousted. Lee was alarmed that he had no control over the majority of the party members. His group refused to hold positions in the CEC. The decisions and statements by Lee were interpreted by many at the time to be an open invitation to the British and Lim Yew Hock to arrest the PAP dissidents. We were perturbed, and went to see Lee at his office to try to persuade him to change his mind, but he was adamant.

On 22 August the Special Branch arrested 35 people, including five of the six new CEC members under the Preservation of Public Security Ordinance. Socialist Club members saw the arrests as being of benefit to Lee’s faction in two ways. First, the British would read the faction’s distancing of themselves from the six left-wing CEC members, and the absence of protests against the detention of the PAP members, as an indication that the faction could be expected to maintain colonial interests; second, the arrests of the five left-wing leaders would allow the Lee faction greater control of the party organisation before the general election, while Lim Chin Siong and other trade union leaders were still in prison.

At the November 1957 party annual general meeting Lee introduced the appointed cadre system which deprived party branches and ordinary members of the right to elect the CEC members, in effect totally destroying the democratic nature of the party. All this marked the beginning of our disillusionment with Lee. We began to feel that he was by no means a democrat and were rather appalled by what we saw as his ruthlessness in allowing the British and Lim Yew Hock’s government to put his opponents within the party into prison. Much later, we learnt from T.T. Rajah, the only one of the six not arrested, that Devan Nair, who was in detention, had indicated to him ‘six–six’, when T.T. visited Devan as his legal adviser. Devan’s standing at the time among trade unionists was very high, and they must have thought that his words were those of the other imprisoned top unionists as well. We did not know then that Lim Chin Siong was not confined in the same location as Devan Nair, and they were not in communication. My impression now is that those trade unionists  merely carried out what they thought was the instruction of their detained leadership. Long after the event T.T. Rajah raised the matter with Devan, but the latter merely laughed it off and suggested that Rajah had misunderstood him. By then Devan had moved closer to Lee. Before the general election there was talk that the PAP might work with Lim Yew Hock. On 11 May 1959 The Straits Times reported Marshall’s allegation that Lim was snarling at Lee above the table, but under the table they were ‘playing footsie-footsie’, which we understood to mean that they were forming a united front. Five of my friends and I barged into Lee’s house. He did not deny the report. The gist of his reply to us was that if the PAP did not unite with the Labour Front then it would have to fight against all the other parties. I remember rebutting him, arguing that if all the other parties were united against the PAP, so much the better, for the lines will be more clear-cut and people would be able to see who the procolonialists were, and who the anticolonialists. Lee was quite displeased by the bold affront. All this took barely five minutes as he was on his way to an appointment. I volunteered my services in the PAP’s election campaign in 1959 and focused on the English-speaking constituencies, despite having been turned down for nomination as a PAP candidate. These areas were hostile territory. The PAP’s victory raised the hopes of the working class for changes in the whole social set-up, which would lead to improvements in their lives. After the general election the PAP issued a notice which was posted in all party branches stating that over 140 members of the party were forthwith expelled. My name was on the list. I was not given prior notice and in fact was not informed of this at all.

The PAP proceeded to launch some unpopular policies such as an attack on the English-speaking section of our population, who were mostly living in a world created by The Straits Times which assumed that the party was highly unpopular. They were shocked by its massive electoral victory. The government cut the pay of civil servants. To me it smacked of a personal vendetta, vindictiveness, and was thoroughly antisocialist in principle. These things should have no place in the thinking of a political leader. The English speakers had been politically misled by the colonialists. Rather than condemning and further alienating them with insults, effort should have been made to unite them in the common struggle with the workers. I made my views clear in no uncertain terms through people whom I knew in the party. I was then working in the Kandang Kerbau Maternity Hospital. Many of the senior doctors in the government service were thinking of resigning en masse, not so much on account of the pay cut but the indignity they suffered. I was placed in a rather difficult position because many of them thought I was still a member of the PAP. I did not want to say anything to embarrass the party. At one meeting, some doctors advocated strike action. I suggested they think it over carefully, for any strike action would be a prolonged one and could result in the total restructuring of the medical service. They eventually dropped the idea, but their frustration grew.

The PAP victory was no surprise. It merely cashed in on the mass discontent with the colonial system which had already been there when the PAP was formed in 1954, and with the oppressive and incompetent Lim Yew Hock government. The people wanted change. There was a general understanding that the trade unionists would lend support to the PAP on condition that their leaders would be freed, and this played a significant part in the party’s victory. Without the support of the trade union faction the PAP would be very weak. The top-ranking eight, including Lim Chin Siong, Fong Swee Suan, James Puthucheary and S. Woodhull, were duly released, but not the dozen or more others.

Within less than a year, the PAP faced a serious struggle within the party between Ong Eng Guan and Lee Kuan Yew. As far as we know, it was over purely personal ambition. There was no real conflict of political ideology between the two, though Ong made the clever move of championing popular mass issues such as the lack of party democracy and other agendas of the PAP left. Ong’s sixteen resolutions were issues which the trade unionists would support. But he was an opportunist. The trade unionists decided that they had to give open support to the PAP which had expelled Ong. He then resigned his parliamentary seat and handsomely won the byelection at Hong Lim, where he had a strong personal following. Short of fielding Lim Chin Siong to challenge him in the by-election, which of course Lee would not do, Ong would have retained Hong Lim.

The Merger Proposal and the Barisan Sosialis

Following the Hong Lim by-election of 29 April 1961 Tunku Abdul Rahman surprised us with his Malaysia plan. It was obvious, however, that the move for merger was not actually initiated by the Tunku but the British, as it involved merging of the British colonies of North Borneo (as Sabah was then known), Sarawak, Singapore and the sultanate of Brunei with Malaya. The British were trying to perpetuate colonialism in a new guise, or neocolonialism. They did not want to give Singapore full independence for its predominantly left-wing political movement would easily win in a free and fair election. To maintain his position Lee was willing to go along with the scheme of the British and the Tunku to bring Singapore under the domination of the Federation of Malaya, in the form of a merger, whereby the people of Singapore would not have equal political status within the Malayan nation. It was a British communalist scheme of submerging Singapore as well as the Borneo colonies into the Federation of Malaya, with its conservative leadership, to perpetuate its economic and military domination over the region.

It was the left wing who demanded most strongly the reunification of Singapore with Malaya, since Singapore became a separate colony while the other two components of the Straits Settlements (Penang and Malacca) became part of Malaya in 1946. But what we were faced with in 1961 was not reunification but a British scheme to perpetuate its economic and military domination of the region. In July 1961, after it lost the Anson byelection, the PAP expelled its 13 dissident legislative assembly members and the political secretaries who refused to give unreserved support for its terms for joining Malaysia, which were not clearly spelt out. The 13 and the trade union group decided to form the Barisan Sosialis.

At this point I decided to be involved, as the Barisan Sosialis was the only meaningful party that could carry our anticolonial struggle one step forward. When Woodhull approached me to join, I believed that I could make some meaningful contribution to the socialist struggle of our country, particularly as most of the Barisan Sosialis members were Chinese educated. Poh Soo Kai and I resigned from our jobs in the government hospital in accordance with the civil service regulations and joined the Barisan Sosialis. We were elected to the CEC.

The Barisan Sosialis had no shortage of candidates to contest the next general election in 1963. A tremendous number of people offered their services to the party. Most critically, our leaders had contact with the mass movement and could reflect the views and aspirations of the people. About 75 to 80 per cent of the really dynamic and effective sections of the PAP membership walked over en masse to join us. Had there been democracy within the PAP the dissidents would have taken control of the party. The Barisan Sosialis actually emerged from the majority of the PAP. I had the privilege of helping the Barisan Sosialis assembly members prepare their speeches for the debate on the White Paper on merger with Malaysia, and did a major part of the research and drafting of the speeches for Lee Siew Choh and S.T. Bani. It was my deep conviction in the Barisan Sosialis’s position on the issue that in great measure helped me withstand the torments and efforts to destroy my morale in the long years of imprisonment. My stand and that of the Barisan Sosialis have been vindicated by historical events.

The major part of the Barisan Sosialis’s speeches in the assembly set out to demolish the falsehood of the official stand and to enunciate our concept of merger. For the Tunku and the PAP to say that just because we were opposed to their version of merger, we were against the concept and goal was an absolute misrepresentation of our position. Our argument, which we made clear to the public, was that their proposal was not for the genuine reunification of the two territories, but a means of suppressing the strong working-class movement in Singapore. The British were not prepared to go against the tide of independence and openly suppress the genuine anticolonial forces in Singapore, so they were expecting friendly conservative governments to do that with their backing. But neither the Tunku nor Lee wanted to take sole responsibility for such action. The British also saw its Greater Malaysia plan as a way of taking care of the problem posed by the strong left-wing movement in Sarawak, led by the Sarawak United People’s Party. In addition, the inclusion of the Borneo states pacified the Malay racialists who dominated the Federation government.

What the Barisan Sosialis wanted was for Singapore to enter the Federation of Malaya as one of its constituent states, with all Singapore citizens automatically becoming citizens of the Federation of Malaya on merger day, and enjoying proportional representation in the parliament of the Federation like citizens from the 11 states. But the Tunku kept emphasising that he was not prepared to allow Singapore citizens to become federal citizens, on the grounds that there were too many Chinese and too many communists in Singapore. This constant harping on racial numbers was to us a very dangerous political game. To us, the Malayan people comprised various races and there should not be discrimination on the basis of race. We believed that there were sufficient grounds for unification between workers and peasants of all races, in our struggle for economic freedom among the oppressed people of our country who comprised the vast majority of the population.

Independence had to mean real change in the political, social and economic character of our society, not just a legalistic show, as was happening in countries which supposedly gained independence but found themselves dominated by colonial rule in a new guise. Belgium granted independence to Congo and its first prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, who advocated nationalising the country’s main industries, was immediately toppled by mercenaries paid by the Belgian colonialists and then murdered. The country continued to be ruled indirectly by vested colonial interests.

To us, a realistic method of struggle in Singapore was to put pressure on the Federation government to accept Singapore as a state within Malaya in a genuine complete merger, and for the socialist forces in Singapore to combine with those in the Federation to bring about meaningful changes through peaceful, constitutional means. We thought on a pan-Malayan basis. As Lee Siew Choh said in the assembly, we saw merger as nothing short of complete political integration of Singapore and the Federation, with a common federal citizenship, electoral register, central administration and legislature, a common life and destiny. The PAP’s scheme castrated the people of Singapore politically, for without proportional representation in the federal parliament its political influence would be minimal. Thus the Barisan Sosialis saw the proposed merger as highly prejudicial to the political interests of the people of Singapore, which would also aggravate the racial tension between the Malays and Chinese. Indeed race riots broke out in July and September 1964, a year into merger.

My exact words in a public debate with Lee Kuan Yew just before the referendum of 1 September 1962 were: ‘This merger plan of the PAP would be a step backwards and not forward in our struggle for genuine reunification between the people of Singapore and mainland Malaya’. We predicted that the failure of the merger plan would result in the increased dichotomy between the people of Singapore and mainland Malaya. Not only was the golden opportunity to forge a reunited Malayan nation missed because of the opportunism of the PAP, the Federation government and the British, but the whole Malayan outlook of the people in Singapore was killed by the PAP to cover up the failure of its merger scheme.

During the referendum campaign I found, to my surprise, that the people were largely antimerger, much inflamed by the Tunku’s statement about not accepting Singapore in a fully-fledged merger because it had too many Chinese. The Barisan Sosialis refused to play on this by fanning racial sentiments. Instead it tried to convince them that genuine reunification was beneficial to all races, and theoffending remarks were made by a small group of racialists in the Federation. The PAP painted us to the Federation as pro-Chinese, but to the people of Singapore we were accused of being pro-Malay, ready to hand over the Chinese to be suppressed and discriminated against by the Federation. They played up the so-called autonomy of education and labour against us, claiming that they were protectors of the interests of the Chinese-speaking in Singapore.

The Barisan Sosialis pointed out that the PAP was using the autonomy over labour and education as an excuse to cut down on the meager representation that Singapore had in the federal parliament. We in Singapore were predominantly socialist in outlook. Unhindered, the products of ours schools and universities would be more progressive in their political outlook than what the Federation government would have allowed. They would end up crowding the jails of Changi and Batu Gajah with the PAP’s sell-out. Similarly, the only guarantee for safeguarding workers’ rights was to have a strong, independent trade union movement. The workers had seen their trade union leaders labelled as security risks and imprisoned without trial. They knew that control of internal security held by a central government unsympathetic to labour would make a mockery of any so-called autonomy of labour.

Lee Siew Choh pointed out in the legislative assembly on 21 November 1961 that the Tunku was reported as saying in relation to the clash of the Singapore system with the Rahman Talib report, which was extremely unfavourable and unsympathetic towards Chinese education in Malaya, that ‘if it was found later that changes should be made, then steps would be taken to do so’. So much for autonomy in education. Lee Siew Choh continued to press the Barisan Sosialis’s point that the PAP was playing a ‘double edged communal line’. It tried to appeal to chauvinist feelings of the Chinese by harping on about autonomy in education, and the question of the fourto-one preferential treatment for Malays in the federal civil service, which would apply to Singapore if we had genuine merger. The PAP was using a distinctly racialist approach to fight the Barisan Sosialis stand. We had stated clearly that the Barisan Sosialis was against racial preferential treatment, but would strive to change this within the context of constitutional pan-Malayan politics. Such issues should be hammered out in the federal parliament, and the decision taken had to be applicable to the whole of Malaysia.

The Tunku’s ‘too many Chinese and communists’ comment posed a great difficulty for the PAP. They had to camouflage a policy of discrimination as a policy of equality. In one of the radio forums attended by Goh Keng Swee and Lee Siew Choh, Goh stated that if Singapore were to enter the Federation equal to any of the 11 states such as Penang and Malacca, then half of Singapore’s citizens would automatically lose their citizenship. This was manifestly untrue. Tommy Koh discovered upon reading a study of theMalayan constitution by the professor of law at the University of Malaya, Lionel Sheridan, that in fact clause 22 of the constitution of the Federation of Malaya stated that the federal parliament had the right to lay down conditions for citizenship for the people of any statejoining the Federation. So in fact everything was open to negotiation; it was a question of whether the federal parliament was prepared to negotiate. We accordingly drafted a public statement to refute Goh’s arguments, but the press ignored it and kept on repeating his words.

The whole PAP strategy was apparently to mouth a lie as a truth; the more shocking the lie, the more effective they seemed to think would be the propaganda line. The bright sparks in the PAP leadership then came up with a federal nationality, and a second tier of federal citizenship and Singapore citizenship. They said that everyone would be granted federal nationality, and we were thus equal, as we would all have the same passport and were also equal before the law. We pointed out that this logically meant that to enjoy being equal in these two aspects, one needed to be overseas on a Malaysian passport or facing a court of justice in the country. But we were not otherwise equal. A Singapore citizen could not stand for election in any of the other states in the Federation of Malaysia. S. Rajaratnam then said that this was equality as the people in the other states could not stand for election in Singapore either. The whole merger scheme was under such clouds of confusion, and the PAP spread all kinds of rumours and threats in the build-up to the referendum.

The PAP also alleged that the Barisan Sosialis was afraid that internal security would be controlled by the central government under its merger scheme. We emphasised, however, that we would welcome a complete and genuine merger, with the internal security of Singapore under the central government. We were prepared with reunification to make sacrifices which our socialist comrades in the Federation were already making. In this regard, Lim Chin Siong was quoted in The Straits Times on 18 September 1961 as saying: ‘As one who has tasted political detention as a repression, I say we are prepared for this sacrifice. As socialists we should not allow our personal security to stand in the way of national unity’.

The Barisan Sosialis position, as Lee Siew Choh espoused in the assembly, was that:

Merger cannot be achieved by politicians with a communal outlook. Or even by those who outwardly profess to be noncommunal but willingly pander to communal ills…. [T]here is no conflict of interest between the vast majority of the Chinese in Singapore and for that matter in Malaya, and the Malays in the Federation for the majority of both communities are poor…. [I] n Singapore the Chinese workers work together with Malay and Indian workers, they struggle together against the exploiting class of whatever race, for a better livelihood.

The Barisan Sosialis member, S.T. Bani elaborated:

As a trade unionist who all the time works with them, I have seen workers of all races sharing the same difficulties, the same problems and the same hope for a better standard of living…. If the poor of each of these communities were to struggle separately for a better living, they will not achieve as much as they would, if they struggle as a united body. (1 Singapore Legislative Assembly Debates, 30 November 1961, col. 1029.).

Bani reminded the assembly that it was the socialist movement in Singapore which persuaded the Chinese, Indian and other non-Malay communities to adopt a non-communal line and to accept the Malay language as our national language.

The PAP leadership’s merger scheme was sheer domination of Singapore by the Federation. If it had fought for a genuine reunification with the Federation, the socialists would have supported it wholeheartedly and we would have had a very good chance of succeeding. We joined politics to uphold the rights of our people and to struggle for their aspirations. For this, I firmly believe that it is necessary to have some modicum of integrity, intellectual honesty and basic principles. To me, it is astounding that the PAP leadership was concerned more with immediate political aims.

The Referendum on Merger

Debate on the referendum bill started around March 1962 and dragged on till the referendum itself, held on 1 September. It was a sham perpetrated by the government against the people of Singapore and unprecedented in its fraudulent character, demonstrating the readiness of the ruling party to go to any extent to hold on to its power position. First, the choice was not whether to accept or reject merger. The PAP brought in two other alternatives, so voters had to go for one of the three. Alternative B was meant to be the Barisan Sosialis’s proposal, but the government interpreted it as meaning that half the citizens of Singapore would automatically be deprived of their citizenship rights. Alternative C was the terms offered to the Borneo territories. I remember that when Lee made his case at the United Nations (UN), he gave a categorical assurance that the Singapore government would not hold the referendum on merger until the third alternative – Singapore to merge with Malaysia along the lines of the Borneo territories – was clarified. But the referendum was held on 1 September 1962, not long after we returned from the UN, and way before anything was settled about the terms of merger for Sarawak and North Borneo.

A law was passed, stipulating that blank votes would be counted as supporting the government alternative, but PAP propaganda made this confusing by frightening people that the votes could well be counted as alternative B ones instead. It was a criminal offence to destroy ballot papers, punishable with a fine, jail sentence and deprivation of voting rights for even years. No opposition party would possibly call upon the electorate to openly commit a criminal offence. Voting was compulsory; those who failed to vote would be dropped from the electoral register. The law also permitted the government to not reveal the number of blank votes or spoilt votes cast.

Right from the start of the debate on the referendum bill the government made very clear that they would not resign should the people reject alternative A. Lee Kuan Yew and Toh Chin Chye repeatedly stated that the exercise was merely a consultation with the people; the government’s position was not at stake. This heightened the atmosphere of fear of recriminations should the people vote against the PAP option, which the party did nothing to dispel. This was unlike in previous elections when the government election machinery repeatedly emphasised the secrecy of the ballot. In the house-to-house visits that we made in the course of our campaign, the people expressed this fear repeatedly, rather than being concerned about the merger issue. The Barisan Sosialis knew that, in such a situation, we could not call for a boycott of the referendum, for it was easy for the government to identify those who did not cast their vote.

Also, should the government call a snap election, our supporters who boycotted the referendum would have been struck off the electoral register. We were confident of electoral victory and did not want to do anything to jeopardize our prospects. So we called for the casting of blank votes, as our rank and file members informed us that the PAP had frightened the electorate into believing that alternative B would lead to the disenfranchisement of half of our citizens. Towards the end of the campaign there was also a widespread rumour that should a large majority of the people reject alternative A, the Federation government would cut off the water supply to Singapore. We were not allowed to present our views over the radio, while the PAP went on air repeatedly to put out their propaganda. Opposition parties were also denied the use of vans with public address system facilities. We knew that the threats were too great, the fear too deep, for the people to not vote for alternative A.

In July 1962, about two months before the referendum, Lee Siew Choh, S. Woodhull and I set off for New York to present the Barisan Sosialis position before the United Nation’s committee on colonialism, which was set up to expedite decolonisation. We felt that the mechanics of the referendum certainly did not give the people of Singapore the right to express their aspirations and choose their political destiny. We did not have any illusion that the committee was only a platform for ventilating our views, for the Americans and British held sway at the UN. I believe we made a very commendable effort. The committee called on Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Keng Swee to reply. Goh made the first reply, but he spoke in such a monotonous manner that Lee cut in, practically grabbing the microphone from him, and made a very long defence of his position.

The result of the referendum in favour of alternative A did not change our analysis at all. As the Barisan Sosialis urged in the legislative assembly, the genuine way of allowing the people of Singapore to decide on it was by a general election during which we would be prepared to persuade our people to give us a mandate for a full and complete merger, to have independence within the context of the whole Malayan nation. But in the face of realities when the Federation government refused to accept Singapore as a constituent state in complete merger with the rest of the Federation of Malaya, or even as an autonomous state in the context of confederation, we would have no alternative but to continue pressing for more and more freedom from colonial rule. We certainly did not subscribe to the PAP’s stand that we should remain politically stagnant.

We had absolutely no illusion whatsoever about the prospect of arrest and widespread repression of political opposition in Singapore by the Federation government after any form of merger had taken place. And none either about the PAP, armed to the teeth with all sorts of repressive powers. The PAP’s manoeuvring was for short-term political expediency, but it set the whole momentum for reunification completely backwards. It resulted in the breakup between Singapore and Malaya, the increased enmity between the ruling cliques in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and the feverish attempt by the PAP leadership to drum up a separate political identity for the people in Singapore.

The consequence was a severe setback in the historical process of reuniting Singapore with mainland Malaya. What the British had attempted to do temporarily – the separation of Singapore from Malaya for its colonial interests – the political opportunism of the PAP and the Alliance government in the Federation succeeded in making permanent. The destruction, indeed the havoc they created to national unity, might require generations of our people to remedy.

Operation Coldstore

We had anticipated right from the formation of the Barisan Sosialis the likelihood of a mass arrest of the top leaders of the left-wing movement in Singapore, and expected that the moment had arrived with the outbreak of the Brunei revolt on 8 December 1962 when it was clear that the British totally rejected the Partai Ra’ayat Brunei’s motion in the state legislative assembly to call for independence and rejection of the Malaysia plan. A.M. Azahari, the leader of Partai Ra’ayat Brunei, and of the armed revolt, had attended the inaugural meeting of the Barisan Sosialis, along with leaders of other socialist parties in Malaya. He also visited the Barisan’s headquarters a few times when he was in Singapore. With the outbreak of the revolt, the Barisan Sosialis had been careful to merely express moral support for that nationalist uprising in our party publications and the legislative assembly. We had earlier on even cancelled our 3 June 1962 National Day celebrations at the last minute, for the permit for our rally came with so many restrictions that had we proceeded, the police, with the help of agents provocateurs, would have been able to find ample excuse to move against us.

We knew that they had to have us arrested before the coming general election, but right up to 2 February 1963 there were no disruptions that they could pin on us. One month earlier we had information that the British, the Federation government and the PAP government had each drawn up lists of people to put in prison, with the PAP’s being the longest. The left-wing leaders decided not to go abroad to evade arrest, but to expose the enemy by going to prison. In the end, the Barisan Sosialis was indeed falsely accused of having a hand in the Brunei revolt, as the justification for Operation Coldstore.

On 1 February it was clear that the number of Special Branch agents tailing us had increased. Woodhull, who had information from friends in Kuala Lumpur that the arrests were going to take place, stayed with his wife at our place that evening. They had been married for a much shorter period than even my wife and I, and were not fully prepared emotionally. I was wide awake and psychologically prepared when the police came at about 4 a.m. In The Straits Times of 4 February, Lee Kuan Yew tried to deny responsibility for the arrests by claiming: ‘If it were an action by the Singapore government we would never have contemplated it. It would not be necessary because we could have carried on till 31 August’, when merger was to come into effect. Detentions after that would be the responsibility solely of the Malaysian government.

When my wife and I got married we knew that sooner or later we had to part, probably for many years. Despite that, we were emotional when I was being taken away. We had been married for over a year only; our son was about five-months-old. But we plucked up courage, and I told her that we would probably be reunited in seven or eight years, which was what the longest-serving political detainee at the time was put through. In the car I was preparing myself for the worst, having heard about the horrible things that the British inflicted on detainees.

The men who were arrested were all taken to the hall of Outram Prison. Those who had Malayan citizenship were sent back to the peninsula. They included James and Dominic Puthucheary, S. Woodhull, Fong Swee Suan and Tan Teck Wah, a prominent leader in the Singapore General Employees’ Union. I did not expect this as they had been detained in Singapore before. But this time the Malayan government itself as a member of the Internal Security Council was involved in the mass arrests. I knew they were going to face harsher treatment than us.

 The Unravelling of Singapore as Part of Malaysia

Lee Kuan Yew had kept promising the people of Singapore that Malaysia would come into being on 31 August 1963, but the Tunku decided to await the results of a UN mission sent to ascertain the wishes of the people of Sarawak and North Borneo. So on 31 August we saw on television Lee pull the stunt of declaring the independence of Singapore, which the British did not recognise, and addressing a forlorn gathering at the Padang.

When the preparations for establishing Malaysia were launched in late August the PAP leaders built so-called victory arches all over the island to celebrate the event, and made tours of the constituencies.This was in fact a ruse for their campaign for the forthcoming general election. Sure enough, the election was set for 21 September, after a nine-day campaign period instead of the usual four weeks.

As far as I was concerned, Malaysia or not, we would be remaining in prison. Of more immediate importance was the general election. Some of us discussed whether we should run for election from prison, but discovered that the PAP had sneaked in a legal amendment stipulating that candidates had to hand in their papers in person on nomination day. This was not widely known and we found out only when we checked the law just prior to the election announcement. Hitherto this could be done by proxy, for example by a candidate’s lawyer. We were also told of those candidates designated for nomination by the Barisan Sosialis who had to go into hiding for fear of being arrested to prevent them from filing their papers. This happened to Singapore Business Houses Employees’ Union vice chairman, Tan Siew Chwee, who was detained at a police station on nomination day along with four or five other former political detainees. So there were elaborate plans to keep the candidates safe and for sneaking them into the nomination centres. I had reservations about the Barisan Sosialis’s electoral chances given the undemocratic conditions of campaigning. All the top Barisan Sosialis leaders were in prison and the experienced cadres as well. The PAP rumour machine was busy spreading stories that should the Barisan Sosialis win there would be race riots in Singapore and that the central government would cut off our water supply.

The PAP won 37 and the Barisan Sosialis 13 of the 51 seats (46.9 and 33.2 per cent of the votes respectively). When the results were announced, a good number of the detainees were demoralised. They had hoped for a Barisan Sosialis win, followed by their release. I, on the other hand, had expected that such a result would bring about an even more massive round of arrests. Those who had illusions of being released were really mistaken in their political thinking and analysis. Very soon, a good many of them recovered, but there were also those who succumbed to the demands of the authorities to sign statements lending credence to the falsehoods used to justify their detention in order to seek release.

Within a week of the election results, on 27 September, the police raided Nanyang University (Nantah) and arrested 20 students and graduates, including three defeated election candidates. The Nanyang University students had volunteered en masse to help the Barisan Sosialis election campaign. Soon E hall in Changi prison was filled with Nantah graduates and undergraduates.

The Nantah arrests were followed by those of the trade unionists. Before the general election of September 1963 the PAP had already given notice to the seven major trade unions, with a combined membership of over 100,000, to show cause why they should not be deregistered. This was after a mass rally at the Padang at which Lee Kuan Yew was booed over the Japanese blood debt issue. Lee claimed that the booing was organised by the trade unions at the behest of the communists. When the deadline drew near the unions called for a general strike. Over 30 people were detained, including the Barisan Sosialis members of parliament, S.T. Bani, Lee Tee Tong and Loh Miaw Gong (Loh Miao Ping). Second-wave trade union leaders like Wee Toon Lip and Tan Jing Quee were also swept into prison.

We tried to keep a close watch on political developments via the newspapers, television, radio and news from fresh detainees. From these sources, I found that the 1964 Malaysian election showed the ambition of the PAP in Malaysian politics. They were attempting to win the Chinese population from the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a member of the ruling Alliance government. Out of the 14 candidates that it fielded only one won. What was most incredible to me was that Lee Kuan Yew’s speeches were critical of the merger conditions, which made Singapore citizens second class as Malaysians. The Barisan Sosialis had been saying that from the start. After the PAP failed to win over the urban Chinese in Malaysia by becoming more chauvinist than the MCA, generating antagonism among the Malay racialists among others, Lee kept focusing public attention on racial differences in Malaysia, to force the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to accept the PAP within the Alliance government as a sort of assurance for racial peace. This was the underlying basis for his campaign for a so-called Malaysian Malaysia. The antagonism between the UMNO racialists and the PAP brought racial feelings to such a height that blood was spilt in the two race riots in Singapore. I remember distinctly that at the time, Utusan Melayu labelled Lee the ‘father of communalism in Malaysia’. It took many years before the relationship between the Chinese and Malays in the country was brought back to normal.

I must stress that although the PAP leaders were playing racial politics, they were not racialists, meaning people whose political views are completely dictated by the colour of one’s skin. Jaafar Albar, the UMNO extremist who was set against Lee, was such a racialist. By comparison, the PAP’s approach was more akin to that practised by the British colonial rulers, a highly sophisticated political game which played on the racialist feelings of various communities. Their racialist policy was essentially one of playing the feelings of one race against another in order to create dissension, disunity and discord so that they could benefit from this confusion in order to achieve their political ambition. The British had hitherto played this game of harping on racial differences of our population, and claiming that they were needed to keep the situation in check.

In May 1965 the PAP led in the formation of the Malaysian Solidarity Convention, a grouping of political parties fighting for a ‘Malaysian Malaysia’, heightening the animosity between UMNO and the PAP. The byelection on 10 July 1965 at Hong Lim was held at the height of the campaign waged by the PAP to get itself accepted into the Alliance. It was occasioned by the resignation of Ong Eng Guan from his parliamentary seat. There was widespread belief that this was at the instigation of the central government in order totest the level of support for the PAP, so that the Tunku could decide how best to handle Lee Kuan Yew. We had heard that the Alliance government was considering releasing top Barisan Sosialis leaders to fight the PAP in the by-election, and that some senior Internal Security Department (ISD) officers had sounded out Lim Chin Siong in prison. We were not thrilled by this prospect, knowing well that after we had done the dirty work for the Alliance by defeating the PAP we would be put back in prison.

In the end, the central government evidently decided against this strategy. The PAP’s Lee Khoon Choy defeated the Barisan Sosialis candidate, Ong Chang Sam, which apparently discouraged UMNO leaders from arresting Lee Kuan Yew, who in any case had the support of Britain, Australia and New Zealand, which then had military forces fighting Indonesian confrontation. The PAP chairman Toh Chin Chye, during his visit to Australia and New Zealand, mentioned the possibility of Lee’s arrest, alerting their governments to the possibility that their troops were not defending a democratic but a repressive government. As if the PAP government, which imprisoned its top political opponents, was any better.

On 21 July, less than two weeks after the PAP’s by-election victory, race riots broke out during the procession celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. This convinced the Tunku that Singapore would have to leave Malaysia. When the separation was announced we were taken completely by surprise, as were the British and also the top PAP leaders who were not taken into confidence by Lee.

We had been proven right for warning that Malaysia as defined by the PAP would not work, but were pained by that outcome, for the antagonisms fanned by both sides meant a greater setback to our struggle for a permanent unity between the peoples of Singapore and peninsular Malaya. Even though we had been against the 1963 merger, we thought that once Singapore was part of Malaysia, the correct path would be to struggle for unity within the context of Malaysia. All the 100-odd detainees in the E dormitories crammed into the small room to watch Lee’s television press conference, when he broke down at the point where he said that all his adult life he had aspired and struggled for unity between Singapore and Malaya. We expected that if he really believed in Malaysia he would stand by his belief, even if it might land him in jail.

Lee Siew Choh had ordered a boycott of the 9 December 1965 parliament session to table the Singapore Independence Bill and the Constitutional Amendment Bill. On 1 November 1966 all Barisan Sosialis MPs resigned their seats as directed by the party. The boycott was to protest against the lack of democratic freedom in parliament and in the country as a whole. Throughout the period when Singapore was in Malaysia parliament hardly met. As the Barisan Sosialis statement also pointed out, such an important issue as the separation of Singapore from Malaysia was decided by a couple of men. It was not debated in parliament, making a mockery of it. However, by this time the Barisan Sosialis lacked unity in its ranks, and the leaders did not carry out an effective campaign to focus on the meaninglessness of further participation in parliament. Unfortunately the debates within the party and left-wing unions lost sight of the main issues, and ended up splitting hairs. I would not be surprised if this was fuelled by agents provocateurs. If the key Barisan Sosialis leaders had not been arrested, all this would have been settled amicably. As socialists we were certainly in agreement with the Barisan Sosialis leadership that Singapore’s independence was phoney as we were not economically self-reliant, as well as with the presence of foreign military bases. These issues were vital for internal party debates, but I for one held that harping on phoney independence as the main propaganda line against the PAP was the wrong course, for the battle over slogans only confused the people.

Imprisonment as Political Detainees

On the second day of my imprisonment I was interrogated by two Special Branch officers, one of whom happened to be my classmate in Raffles Institution. They asked me all kinds of questions which only exposed their ignorance. I simply toyed with them, knowing that what I said or did not say would not matter in the least; clearly it was just a formality. The one significant question they posed was if I were prepared to go abroad, hinting that if I agreed to leave Singapore for good I would be released immediately. I made it very clear to them that I was fighting for the freedom of my homeland, and it was unthinkable for me to leave this country, for which I was making so much sacrifice. In the three and a half months at Outram Prison, I was in solitary confinement aside from the first month in the prison hospital for a very bad case of viral conjunctivitis. I was ‘interrogated’ only once. I learned later that this was common with most detainees in the prison.

Solitary confinement is one of the worst forms of mental torture. Under prison regulations, a convicted prisoner could be punished for breaking these regulations by solitary confinement, but no more than two weeks at a stretch. Medical authorities state that solitary confinement could cause mental derangement in an ordinary human being. However, political detainees were routinely put into solitary confinement for more than two months. I know of a case where a detainee was kept in solitary confinement for more than two years. It is a testimony to his willpower and strength of character that he emerged from that mentally intact. We were allowed weekly visits from immediate family members. Cousins, in-laws and fiancées and girl/boyfriends were not permitted to visit political detainees, unlike for convicted prisoners.

These hardships made me even more resolute as they gave me a closer insight into the true character, the dictatorial and cruel nature of the regime. Unfortunately there were those who were not prepared psychologically for the harsh treatment inside prison. I know of one or two cases where the detainees developed claustrophobia. They became mentally deranged and suicidal. The Barisan Sosialis chairman, Lee Siew Choh, and other Barisan assembly members visited and investigated our living conditions. When the assembly met in April 1963 Lee Siew Choh gave a lengthy speech detailing the harsh conditions in Outram Prison. We had no illusions that it would make any difference to the treatment we received, but it served as a historical record. In fact, conditions became even harsher as a punishment for our speaking out. Those kept at the holding centre for political detainees in the Central Police Station had it even worse.

After three months I was transferred to E hall of Changi Prison, to be with 60 to 70 others, and led a collective life of sorts. We were allowed to pool our prison rations and prepare our own meals communally, and also had food supplies from home. We also organised Malay, English and maths classes, could do some gardening and also sporting activities. We set up a livelihood committee.

I appeared twice before the advisory board, a judicial body to give detainees an opportunity to appeal against their detention. It had absolutely no judicial powers and was calculated to give a false impression that detainees had the opportunity to appeal to a judicial body. A High Court judge was chairman, with two assessors who were civil servants or appointed members of the public. Detainees were not informed of their recommendation, which in any case the government could choose to ignore. In late 1963 I was told out of the blue at about 5 p.m. one evening that I was to appear before the board the next day. I was given half an hour to read four foolscap sheets of closely typewritten text which were the charges I had to answer the next morning. I asked to speak to my lawyer. I was told that it was my right but that none of them had instructions to make the arrangement.  I quickly jotted down almost everything in the sheets of paper, which had a good number of lines that were left blank.

The chairman of the board was Justice A.V. Winslow. I asked for advice on how to contact my lawyer. He replied that he had no powers to help me do that. I then asked for the hearing to be postponed so that I could get in touch with my lawyer. He said it was beyond his powers to allow that. I told the board that, for the record, my detention was ordered by the Internal Security Council to suppress political opposition, and that I did not expect the board’s recommendation to mean anything at all. The charges contained factual errors. One of the grounds for my detention was the allegation that I was a member of the Fajar editorial board charged for sedition in 1954.This was not true. In any case, those who were charged were acquitted without their defence being called. But even if they had been found guilty, it was an honour to be seditious against a colonial government.

I asked Winslow about the blank spaces between paragraphs in the charge sheets. He explained that those were grounds which the authorities thought that I should not know about, though the board could read them. It was so ridiculous that I had to laugh. I told the judge that if I were in his position I would resign rather than be coerced into being immorally involved in the sham display of judicial proceedings. He kept quiet.

I appeared before the board a second time to put on record their reply to my demand to be informed about the decision on my first appeal. What really irked me was that having completely debunked on factual grounds the statement that I was a member of the Fajar editorial board that was charged for sedition, this lie was still in the charge sheet. As expected, I was told that the board was in no position to tell me their decision. With that, I told the board that I refused to be part of the sham proceedings. In early May 1965 the detainees in E hall collectively sent a letter to the chairman of the advisory board declaring that henceforth we were boycotting the board, spelling out the reasons for this decision. Those in the other halls also sent a similar letter and agreed to boycott the proceedings as well.

On 21 November 1965 we received news that Lim Chin Siong had been warded in the General Hospital. The next day The Straits Times reported that a fight had broken out between Lim’s pro-Moscow and my pro-Beijing group, and he was badly injured. This was impossible as he and I were kept in separate sections of the prison and had no contact with each other. The newspaper item gave us an opportunity to sue for libel and several of us went to court to give evidence.

The detainees also staged a two-day hunger strike to protest against the authorities feeding such lies to the press. It turned out in the course of the court hearings that the misinformation came from none other than the head of the ISD, Tay Seow Huah himself. Taking action against such lies and other forms of persecution boosted our morale. Whatever difficulties or disagreement faced by the Barisan Sosialis or other left-wing organisations, we in prison were determined to persevere with our struggle of maintaining our stand and demanding immediate and unconditional release. Our morale came from the conviction that we were struggling for a just cause, for a united socialist Malaysia, and that it had been vindicated by history.

We had our day in court again in July 1966. Chia Thye Poh and Koo Young, two Barisan Sosialis MPs, were prosecuted for having alleged in the party paper that the government had attempted to murder Lim Chin Siong. There had been reports that Lim had tried to commit suicide. At that stage the government was going all out to demoralise detainees in prison, attempting to compel all of us to issue statements of repentance, appear on television and so on as conditions for release. The Barisan Sosialis article also mentioned that the government had been ill-treating and persecuting the political detainees. At the initial stage of the trial the chief prosecutor, Francis Seow, asked the two defendants to produce evidence for their allegation. The defence lawyer, T.T. Rajah, asked me to find out who among the detainees were willing to testify about ill treatment they received. When I announced this at E hall the response was very emotional. So many wanted to that we almost had to draw lots.

One of the government’s aims was evidently to portray Lim Chin Siong as a mental berserk. However, Lim happened to be in complete command of his mental faculties at that time, and stood up very well to the marathon cross-examination by Seow. He recovered his political image at least in the eyes of the public and among the detainees. I had the opportunity to testify that the basic diet supplied to detainees was below the standards recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Even though the two defendants were found guilty as expected, the trial was a political victory to the detainees. Giving evidence on the ill treatment we were subjected to provid relief to our years of pent-up feelings. A few weeks after the trial, the government changed the regulations and further reduced our food rations.

Lim Chin Siong was released in July 1969 when he signed a statement to obtain release. He had a relapse of psychotic depression and had to be guarded by three Special Branch men round the clock, until he was taken on board a plane to Britain, accompanied by a government psychiatrist and a senior Special Branch officer. We were shocked to learn of his condition, as we thought that he had recovered from his illness in 1966. However, this development did not have much impact on the morale of the detainees. By then we were seasoned and used to this sort of thing. Long before that we had resolved that no matter who was demoralised, or were broken down by long-term detention, each political detainee was to act according to his or her own conscience. Lim Chin Siong’s statement made some of us resolve that it was even more important to stand steadfastly and persevere in our struggle in prison in order to expose the injustices and lack of democratic rights and fundamental human liberties in our country.

Hunger Strikes

The PAP state did its best to wear us down. Mention has already been made of solitary confinement for prolonged periods, mostly in cells that were practically not fit for human beings. Some were also assaulted. The meager prison diet was also below international standards. We would have been malnourished without food supplies sent from home. In 1971, when we went on a prolonged hunger strike in Moon Crescent Centre, one of the demands was for the right to have greater freedom to bring in supplementary food from home. Hunger strike was the mass action that we took in prison on matters of principle. The first hunger strike I participated in was in early 1965, in protest against the assault inflicted on three detainees when they were taken to the holding centre in Central Police Station. In June 1967 detainees in Changi Prison went on a one-week hunger strike to protest against the deteriorating conditions and ill treatment as punishment for the court testimonies about prison conditions, which we gave in the course of the sedition trial of the editors of the Barisan Sosialis newsletter. We undertook hunger strikes only when everyone was in agreement that we should proceed with the grueling mental and physical struggle. Members of the livelihood committee would decide if there was justification for a hunger strike and if they decided there was they would quietly approach each and every person in E hall to seek his opinion. In August 1971 the authorities wanted to compel detainees to do manual work like convicted prisoners did, under the guise of rehabilitation and vocational training, and brought in costly machinery for metalwork, carpentry and leatherwork. I pointed out to the superintendent who spoke to me that this contravened the Geneva Convention’s guiding rules and principles for the treatment of political prisoners and that, in my case at least, it was absurd to say that I needed to be ‘retooled’ to be able to make a livelihood on my release. They left my hall alone. We heard they started the imposition one hall at a time, but the detainees all stood fast. When the detainees resisted they were locked up in their cells, deprived of reading materials and of visits. This went on for a month. Finally the authorities tried to force them to go to the workshops. They were carried down bodily one by one, and in the process were punched and kicked. The detainees refused to touch the equipment, and were carried back to the cells and locked up.

Towards the end of December 1971 I heard that they were going on an indefinite hunger strike. We decided to join them in solidarity, timing it with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Singapore in 1972. Relatives of political detainees held a press conference which was attended by the foreign correspondents. The strike in my hall went on for three weeks before the superintendent said that he would not impose manual labour on us. Detainees in some of the other halls continued their hunger strike for as long as three months. Each hall had to struggle in accordance with their concrete conditions. We heard that those who went on with the prolonged hunger strike were force-fed in a most cruel and harsh manner. They were seated with their hands handcuffed at the back of the chair. A warder stepped on the handcuff and pulled at the detainee’s hair to raise his or her head. The pain was so excruciating that the detainee would open his or her mouth, whereupon a rubber tube would be shafted down and milk poured down his or her throat. A hefty guard would be sitting on the detainee to prevent him or her from struggling. One detainee suffered from aspiration pneumonia as the milk went into his lungs, and was admitted to the General Hospital on the dangerously ill list, where he continued with the hunger strike. The doctors warned the ISD that the man would not survive if he kept this up. The authorities decided to release him unconditionally for a death on their hands would be a bad blow to the government’s image. In another instance a female detainee in this situation vomited whatever was poured into her throat, and the superintendent ordered four male guards to lift her up and wipe the soiled floor with her skirt. In the end the prison superintendent had to give in to the detainees’ conditions in order to end the strike.

‘I would never lift one finger to justify my own detention’

In mid-1966 Goh Keng Swee inaugurated the government-sponsored Ex-Political Detainees’ Association. He announced that it was the policy of the government not to release political detainees until they repented, a policy which the government resolved not to ever change. It was in effect a threat to keep us in prison for the rest of our lives if we did not repent. The association was evidently a wing of the Special Branch, ostensibly to rehabilitate former detainees but meant to keep an eye on them. No detainee was allowed to be released unless he or she became a member.

‘Repentance’ included making press statements and a ‘confession’ on television. The substance of the scripted statements was dictated by the requirement of the government at that particular stage for their propaganda use. When the Barisan Sosialis were protesting against the American Christmas bombing of North Vietnam in 1965, detainees released at the time had to condemn the Barisan’s protests. Before the separation of Singapore from Malaysia detainees’ statements mentioned their support of the establishment of Malaysia; after separation, they had to support the separation.

When I was approached to make such a television appearance I told them that they needed an actor, not me. In early 1971 the ISD told me that it had proposed to settle my case together with that of my brother Lim Hock Koon, who was arrested a year earlier. They put the two of us together in the relative comfort of the holding centre in Central Police Station. All I had to do was issue a statement on behalf of the both of us. For the first time since my arrest the ISD made a serious attempt to discuss my case. They said that there was no point arguing about what had happened. They explained that looking forward, my case was somewhat difficult to settle as I had been proven right on Malaysia, and if I were released without some kind of statement, Lee Kuan Yew would ‘lose face’. Of course I found this to be an absurd proposition. They wanted me to issue a simple statement containing two points: that I believed in parliamentary democracy and that I would give up politics. I pointed out that the statements were clearly self-contradictory and it would make me look like a fool, for if I believed in parliamentary democracy why would I agree to give up politics? In any case, my record shows clearly that I was very effective in parliamentary politics, which was why I was put in prison to be silenced. I refused to let them twist the facts. It was the PAP leaders who should state that they believed in parliamentary democracy for their actions showed otherwise. I was sent back to Moon Crescent.

Sometime in late 1972 or early 1973 Douglas Hyde, the former editor of The Morning Star, the official organ of the British Communist Party, was sent to see me. He explained that he left the party when the Second World War broke out, frustrated that it called on everyone to fight Nazi Germany only when the latter attacked the Soviet Union. Hyde then embraced Catholicism. Evidently he had the propensity towards extremism, from extreme left to extreme right. Some years earlier he had been sent to talk to Lim Chin Siong, Said Zahari and Poh Soo Kai.

I have absolutely nothing but utter contempt for this chief salesman of anticommunism to the fascist regimes in Southeast Asia, a foreigner sitting in judgement over whether an opposition leader like me should have the right to enjoy my fundamental human liberties. I regard this man’s visit and the use of him to break up the political leadership of the opposition in Singapore as an insult to my political rights.

In late April 1975 I was transferred to one of the big bungalows at Mount Rosie, the residence of senior ISD officers, and later to another in Jervois Road. These served as rehabilitative centres for detainees who had signed statements to recuperate their health before their media appearance and release. In my case, it was probably for them to assess if it was safe to release me without embarrassment to the PAP government. This time they wanted me to sign a statement of repentance renouncing violence, which I retorted was like asking me to announce that I would stop beating my wife, giving the impression that I had been a wife-beater and had been arrested for that. I told them that as far as I was concerned my arrest and detention were completely unjustifiable. I would never lift one finger to justify my own detention.

I was taken back to Moon Crescent in early 1977. Conditions in Moon Crescent had deteriorated even further. We mounted a protest in 1978 by refusing to walk back to our cells after a family visiting session. We were dragged up three flights of stairs, carried into our cells and locked up for 24 hours a day for one week. My brother was put into a cell just above the prison ovens. It was so hot in there that water sprinkled on the wall would immediately evaporate. He had a stroke not long after.

On 17 November 1979 I was transferred to Pulau Tekong and told that I was released, but I insisted that this was just another prison. That evening I was interviewed by The Straits Times, and subsequently by local and foreign correspondents. I stated that this was a sham release staged to pacify local and foreign public opinion against the appalling lack of human rights and democratic freedom in the country. To my mind, the charade was to pacify in particular the Carter administration, which was concerned about human rights issues. I also declared that I would continue to resist and so refuse all demands to repent, recant or to renounce my convictions as a condition for my release.

I was confined to Pulau Tekong for four years. Towards the second half of 1982 they made serious attempts to ‘solve’ my case, as they put it. The twentieth anniversary of my detention was approaching. Finally they asked me to agree to a simple statement with two points: that I would abide by the conditions of my release, and that I would concentrate on my medical practice.

It must be noted for the historical record that I had never stated in point of fact that I would abide by the conditions of release. Whenever they asked me if I would abide by the restrictions after I was released, my reply would be: ‘has the victim any choice?’ The statement issued by the government was entirely their responsibility; it was not my statement.

After I was told that I was to be released the ISD added in a most sober manner that the government had given it a standing order that should I show defiance I would be put back in prison. This was not stated as a threat, but laying the ground rules, as it were. I had no doubt they meant what they said.

The political reality has been that the PAP government would never tolerate anyone who has shown a capacity to be effective in their opposition to government to participate in the political life of Singapore. The PAP government would not tolerate an effective opposition let alone an alternative government. Anyone who does not appreciate this simply doesn’t understand the ABC of politics in Singapore.

I was released on 6 September 1982 after almost 20 years of continuous detention without trial. At the time I was the longest serving political detainee in the history of Malaya.









本文是摘录林福寿医生接受新加坡口述历史中心一系列访谈的文字记录,开始访谈的日期是198285日,是96日他被释放前的一个月,若再过五个月,监禁时期就达完整二十年。最后一次访谈日期是1986731日。这一系列访谈共用了61卷录音带,每卷时长半小时。林福寿医生偶尔表示打算把访谈记录整理成文稿出版。他欣然同意编辑部成员将他的口述资料集成一章,然后再由他审阅,也可能写篇后记。令人悲痛的是,就在本文的第一初稿即将完成、准备让他审阅时,林福寿医生不幸在201264日与世长辞,终年81岁。从林医生在过去十年的演讲来评断,在过去二十年间,并没有发生任何事件促使他改变态度,对人民行动党的严厉批评,未见减弱。-- 孔莉莎


他很支持反对派,常常也乐意跟新加坡带来改变的年轻人交流,跟他们分享他的经验。他从不讳言对李光耀的极度反感与不信任。他不让李光耀得遂所愿,拒绝在一份跟国家安全毫无关系的文件上签名,来换取人身自由。林医生虽然谈吐温柔、举止温文尔雅、文质彬彬,却是个强劲有力的演讲者。在2009年的《华惹时代风云》新书推介会上,以及其他公开和私人场合,他演讲从来都不用看稿。他具有钢铁般的意志,为了实现自己的政治信仰,为了新加坡的民主,他牺牲了跟妻子和当时只有五个月大的儿子相处的温暖家庭。-- 张素兰




1936年,我开始上学,在赫士汀斯路(Hastings Road)的英印学校(Anglo-Tamil School)接受小学教育,后来转学到仰光路学校。1941年,我念完小学三年级的时候,二战爆发了。跟当时的大多数华族男人一样,我父亲被赶进集中营,但过后被放出来,很可能是因为一眼就看出他是个文盲。我们熬过了贫困、艰苦卓绝的生活,经历了眼前不知道下一刻会发生什么事的忧虑。日本人投降了,我们居住的甘榜加卜区爆发种族冲突。私会党徒肆无忌惮、无法无天。警察,绝大多数是马来人,把自己反锁在竹脚警察局,害怕被攻击。



我的同学来自不同的学校。莱佛士书院所谓的精英氛围,令我们敬畏。我选修的科目之一是历史,上历史课时,尽管印度已在1947年独立了,老师仍然向我们填灌废料,吹嘘罗伯特·克里芙(Robert Clive)之类的殖民地开拓者的荣耀和成就。他们根本没有为我们讲解发生在我们周围的历史事件的重要意义。跟其他英校一样,莱佛士书院的学生对政治也漠不关心。




1951年,我大学一年级的功课非常繁重,由于我必须选修基础科学科目,因为战争刚结束,缺乏设备,莱佛士书院没有开办这些学科。当年,大学允许恶整新生的“拖尸”陋习,在医学院,此风尤甚。我让自己被恶整,但加入争取废除“拖尸”的运动,此陋习直到1957年才告停止。在大学一年级,我参与筹备成立非寄宿生组织的工作,非寄宿生占学生总人数的40%1955年,我协助该组织创办喉舌刊物《Pelandok》(马来文,意为鼠鹿)。我前后担任三届学生理事会理事,其中一届是任主席。与此同时,我也分别是学生会会讯《马来亚大学生》(Malayan Undergrad)及马大社会主义俱乐部刊物《华惹》(Fajar)的编辑委员。






1954513日,华校中学生集会请愿,要求免服兵役,遭到警察暴力镇压,马大学生反应强烈。有些大学生找上学生会主席,他在514日当天晚上召开紧急会议,大约四、五百人出席,场面热烈,群情激昂。反对开会的学生则议论在短时间通知开会是否合法,他们是不可能声言支持警察的行动的,因为就连报界主要是英文《虎报》(《Singapore Standard》)也加以谴责。大多数学生投票赞成继续开会,其他人则步出会场。我在会上讲述“五一三事件”,消息来源是我的弟妹们(特别是弟弟福坤,他是中正中学学生代表团的指定发言人,代表团约好要会见政府的行政官),他们的说法跟《虎报》的报道相同。紧急会议通过一项议案,强烈谴责警察武断动用暴力对付和平请愿的学生,并分别向英国首相邱吉尔、反对党工党领袖艾德里以及新加坡殖民地当局,发电报抗议。不过,那些退出会场的学生后来要求举行非常会员大会,讨论514日紧急会议的合法性。他们通过一项动议,宣布前次会议通过的决议无效。后来又开一次会,通过对整个学生会理事会的不信任动议。








然而,在林德宪制(Rendel constitution)下的选举是一套紧身衣,约束多多。要争取独立,必须在立法议院外,通过群众运动和号召人民起来争取,任何殖民地的人民都是如此。由于殖民地政府掌控权力,因此,问题不在于可以在立法议院内控制几个议席的票,关键在于议会外群众支持的强弱。林清祥在立法会用不流利的英语发言。以英语表达,局限了他明确阐述观点的能力,但他的形象和深受群众支持,却突显他所说的每句话的重要分量。







































东姑关于“太多华人和太多共产党”的说法,给行动党造成重大困难。他们必须把歧视政策伪装成平等政策。在出席者有吴庆瑞和李绍祖的一次电台座谈会上,吴庆瑞陈述说,如果新加坡以跟马来亚的11州的任何一州如槟城或马六甲同等的条件加入联合邦,则有一半新加坡公民将会自动丧失公民权。这显然是不真实的。许通美在阅读了马来亚大学法学教授舍里丹(Lionel Sheridan)教授关于马来亚宪法的一份研究报告后发现,马来亚联合邦宪法第22条款实际上表述,对于加入马来亚联合邦的任何州属,联合邦国会有权对其人民的公民权定下条件。因此,实际上是所有事情都是可以进行磋商的,问题是联合邦国会是否准备磋商。于是我们便起草一份公开声明,驳斥吴庆瑞的论调,但是报章拒绝刊登,却持续不断重复吴庆瑞的话。行动党的整体谋略就是将谎言说成真话;


















从社阵创立开始,我们早就预料新加坡左翼运动的高层领导可能遭遇大逮捕。1962128文莱爆发起义,我们预期被捕时刻到了。其时,文莱人民党在文莱立法议院上动议让文莱独立、拒绝马来西亚计划,被英国人完全否决。文莱人民党领袖、武装起义首领阿查哈里(A.M. Azahari)曾以文莱人民党代表的身份,出席社阵的成立大会,出席者还有马来亚各社会主义政党的领袖。在新加坡期间,阿查哈里也多次拜访社阵总部。随着文莱爆发起义,社阵保持谨慎态度,只是在我党的刊物上和立法议院上对这场民族主义起义,在道义上表示支持。早些时候,社阵甚至在最后一刻取消原定196263日举行的邦庆日庆祝大会,因为集会准证附带许多限制条件,如果我们按计划开会,警方在内奸捣乱分子(agents provocateurs)的协助下,可以找到很多借口来对付我们。















我们设法通过报章、电视、电台和新关进来的政治犯带来的消息,密切关注政治发展。从这些消息来源,我发现1964年的马来西亚选举显示行动党对马来西亚政治的野心,他们试图拉拢联盟政府成员党马华公会的华人支持者。行动党派出十四名候选人参选,结果只有一人当选。最令我难以置信的是,李光耀的演讲严厉批评使新加坡公民成为马来西亚二等公民的合并条件,社阵一开始就是这样说的。当行动党采取比马华公会更激进的沙文主义路线,挑动马来种族主义分子内部的对抗等等步骤而无法赢得马来西亚城市华人的支持后,李光耀便不断地把公众的视线聚焦于马来西亚的种族差异,要迫使巫统接受行动党加入联盟政府,作为种族和谐的一种保障。这就是李光耀推动所谓“马来西亚人的马来西亚”的基调。巫统的种族主义分子跟行动党之间的对抗,把种族情绪推向这样一个高度,以致在新加坡发生两次种族流血暴乱。我记得特别清楚,《马来前锋报》给李光耀贴上“马来西亚族群偏向主义之父(father of communalism in Malaysia)”的标签。新加坡华人和马来人之间的正常关系经历很多年才得以修复。

我必须强调,尽管行动党领袖在玩弄种族政治,他们其实并不是种族主义分子;种族主义分子的政治观点是完全根据人的肤色来决定。跟李光耀作对的巫统极端分子查化阿巴(Jaafar Albar),就是这样一个种族主义分子。相比之下,行动党的做法比较偏向英国殖民统治者的行径、极为老练的政治手法,那是操弄不同社群的种族主义感情。他们的种族主义政策,基本上就是玩弄某一种族对另一族的感情,制造纠纷、不团结以及不和,以便从混乱中得益,满足自己的政治野心。英国人迄今玩弄这种手法,一方面口口声声说人民存在种族差异,另一方面又声称必须阻止种族差异产生。








在我被拘留的第二天,有两名政治部官员来审问我,其中一人碰巧是我在莱佛士书院的同班。他们问我各种问题,恰恰暴露他们的无知。我只是敷衍他们,因为我知道不论我说些什么或者不说些什么,丝毫没关系,那显然只是例常公事。他们提出一个重要问题是,我是否准备出国,暗示如果我同意永远离开新加坡,马上就会被释放。我向他们非常清楚表示,我是为国家的自由而斗争,我为国家做出很多牺牲,要我离开这个国家,那是不可想象的。关押在欧南监狱三个半月,除了第一个月因为病毒性结膜炎(viral conjunctivitis)留在监狱医院之外,其余时间都是被单独监禁,前后只被“审问”过一次而已,后来我才知道大多数政治犯的经历都跟我一样。




过了三个月,我跟另外六、七十个人被转移到樟宜监狱“E座”,过某种集体生活。我们获准把监狱供给的食物集合起来烹煮,共用伙食,家人也可以带食物给我们。我们开办马来文班、英文班和数学班,可以从事一些园艺和体育活动。我们成立了生活委员会。我曾经两度出席咨审局的聆讯,咨审局是个司法机构,为政治犯提供上诉的机会。咨审局完全没有司法权,是个精心策划的假象,让人家误以为政治犯有机会向司法机构上诉。一位高等法院法官担任咨审局主席,两位陪审员是公务员或受委任的公众人士。他们不会把推荐意见通知政治犯,无论如何,政府可任意不理会他们的建议。1963年底,某天傍晚五点钟,我突然地被通知,要我隔天出席咨审局的聆讯会;给我四页大型书写纸(foolscap sheet),上面用打字机密密麻麻打上文字,都是我隔天早上必须答辩的控状,只给我半小时阅读。我要求会见律师,我被告知,说这是我的权利,但他们未获安排我见律师的指示。我迅速扼要地记下纸上的所有东西,但有很多行是空白的。




















1972年底或1973年初的某个时候,英国共产党机关报《晨星报》(The Morning Star)前编辑陶格拉斯·海德(Douglas Hyde)奉派来看我。他解释说,他在二战爆发时脱离英国共产党,因为英共只在纳粹德国进攻苏联的时候,才号召大家跟纳粹德国进行斗争,令他灰心丧气。过后,海德信奉天主教。明显地,他的个性存在极端主义倾向,从极左转向极右。在几年前,他也曾奉派去跟林清祥、赛查哈里和傅树介谈话。


19754月底,我被转移到露茜山(Mount Rosie)一栋独立别墅,是内安局高官的住所;后来又转到泽维士路(Jervois Road)的另一处。这些地方被充当已签署悔过声明的政治犯的康复中心,让他们恢复健康后再上电视,然后释放。关于我的情况,他们也许是想要评估一下,释放我是否妥当,会不会让行动党政府难堪。这一次,他们要求我签署一份悔过声明,放弃暴力,我反驳道,这等于是要求我宣布不再打我老婆,给人的印象是我向来是个打老婆的人,是因为这样才被关进监狱。







在告诉我会被释放之后,内安局官员郑重其事补充说,政府给该局下达一项持久有效的命令(a standing order),若我有违抗行为,将被送回监狱。这不是一项恫吓的表态,而是立下执法程序。我不怀疑他们言出必行。




(英文/中文版)Dr Lim Hock Siew speaks from Singapore Prison Public Statement 1972年3月18日发表的林福寿医生狱中声明


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 13

Appendices: Lim Hock Siew’s writings, statements, speeches and interviews

 Dr Lim Hock Siew speaks from Singapore Prison Public Statement——Dated 18 March 1972

 Released by His Wife, Dr Beatrice Chen

I and hundreds of others were arbitrarily arrested on 2 February 1963. Many are still in prison. Ever since that day, we were, and are, unjustly and arbitrarily detained in prison without any kind of trial whatsoever for over nine years. We have gone through various kinds of persecution, struggles, hardships and difficulties during this very long period of over nine years of detention in prison. Recently an unusual development took place. On 13 January 1972, I was taken to the Headquarters of the Special Branch at Robinson Road where I was detained for 40 days together with my brother, Lim Hock Koon.

Two high-ranking special branch agents of the PAP regime indicated to me that if I were to issue a public statement of repentance, I would be released. They told me that nine years had passed since the date of my arrest and that it was time that my case be settled. They admitted that nine years was a long time. I told them that it was pointless to remind me of this long period.

A week after my transfer to the Special Branch Headquarters, the same two high-ranking employees spelt out the conditions of my release. They demanded from me two things. They are as follows:

  1. That I make an oral statement of my past political activities, that is to say, “A security statement”. This was meant for the Special Branch records only, and not meant for publication.

  1. That I must issue a public statement consisting of two points:

        (a) That I am prepared to give up politics  and  devote to medical practice thereafter.

         (b) That I must express support for the parliamentary democratic system.

I shall now recall and recapitulate the conversation that took place between me and the same two high-ranking Special Branch agents during my detention at the Special Branch Headquarters.

Special Branch –

You need not have to condemn the Barisan Sosialis or any person. We admit that it is unjust to detain you so long. Nine years is a long time in a person’s life; we are anxious to settle your case.

Dr Lim Hock Siew –

My case will be settled immediately if I am released unconditionally. I was not asked at the time of my arrest whether I ought to be arrested. Release me unconditionally and my case is settled.

Special Branch –

The key is in your hands. It is for you to open the door.

Dr Lim Hock Siew –

To say that the key is in my hands is the inverted logic of gangsters in which white is black and black is white. The victim is painted as the culprit and the culprit is made to look innocent. Four Gurkha soldiers were brought to my house to arrest me. I did not ask or seek arrest or the prolonged detention for over nine years in prison without trial.

Special Branch –

You must concede something so that Lee Kuan Yew would be in a position to explain to the public why you had been detained so long. Mr Lee Kuan Yew must also preserve his face. If you were to be released unconditionally, he will lose face.

Dr Lim Hock Siew –

I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew’s face. This is not a question of pride but one of principle. My detention is completely unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to justify the unjustifiable. In the light of what you say, is it not very clear that I have lost my freedom all these long and bitter years just to save Lee Kuan Yew’s face? Therefore the PAP regime’s allegation that I am a security risk is a sham cover and a facade to detain me unjustifiably for over nine years.



I cannot and will not make any statement to condemn my past political activities. My past political activities were absolutely legitimate and proper. Whatever I had done or said was in the interest of and in the service or the masses of our people and of our country. Even an accused person need not say anything to incriminate or to condemn himself. Why should I who am arbitrarily detained without any kind of trial for over nine years be coerced to act as an agent to the Special Branch by making a secret deal behind the backs of the masses?

I resolutely reject this demand. Furthermore, I have not the slightest obligation to account my past political activities to Lee Kuan Yew.



 I completely reject in principle the issuing of any public statement as a condition of my release. This is a form of public repentance. History has completely vindicated my position. I was arrested for opposing merger with “Malaysia” because I held the view that “Malaysia” was a British-sponsored neo-colonialist product and the creation of “Malaysia”, far from uniting our people and our country, would cause greater dis-unity and dissension among our people. I believe that the formation of Malaysia would be a step backward and not forward in our struggle for national unity.

I have nothing to repent, to recant or to reform. If anything I have become more reinforced in my convictions, more reaffirmed in my views and more resolute to serve the people of Malaya fully and whole-heartedly. I have nothing to concede to Lee Kuan Yew. By right, he should make a public repentance to me and not I to him.



I hold the view that these two demands are self-contradictory, because if there is democracy, I need not give up politics. The fact that I had been detained for over nine years in order to coerce me to give up politics is proof enough that there is no parliamentary democracy. The question of taking part in politics is a fundamental right of the people.

An indirect offer was made to me to leave Singapore for further studies. I have replied to the PAP regime that if I had to leave the country at any time, it must be on my own free volition and not under coercion by the PAP regime.


I hold the view that to support the PAP regime’s so-called parliamentary system would mean giving the public and the masses a false impression that there exists today a genuine parliamentary democratic system in Singapore Island. It is an undeniable and unforgettable fact that comrade Lee Tse Tong who was elected by the people of Singapore in the 1963 General Elections, was arbitrarily arrested and detained without trial soon after he was elected. Subsequently, he was deprived of his citizenship and he is still under detention as a so-called “banishee” in prisoner’s clothes in Queenstown prison. The arbitrary arrest and prolonged detention of Comrade Lee Tse Tong affords concrete proof that the so-called parliamentary democracy is a cruel mockery. It does not exist in Singapore Island. Giving support to such a sham parliamentary system means complete betrayal of the people. I will never betray the people of my country under any circumstance. Bitter sacrifice strengthens bold resolve.

Parliamentary democracy does not mean merely casting of votes once in five years during election time. Far more important than this is the freedom of thought, the freedom of expression, the freedom of association, the freedom of organisation everyday during the five-year period and continuously thereafter. I was arrested when the Barisan Sosialis was actively participating in the parliamentary system. For such participation, the colonial government, the Lee Kuan Yew and Rahman regimes had rewarded me with over nine years of imprisonment. This again amply indicates the utter shamness of the so-called parliamentary democratic system. After over 9 years of detention, I am now asked to give support to their so-called parliamentary system in order to secure my release. I firmly refuse to give my support for the sham and illusory democracy in Singapore Island.




Since history has fully vindicated my stand and my position, Lee Kuan Yew should openly and publicly repent to me and to all other political detainees, now unjustifiably detained in prison. By right a just and proper base for my release from my prolonged and unjustifiable detention (and this equally applies to all political detainees now under unjustifiable detention) should be:

1.Our unconditional and immediate release from detention and the complete restoration of all our democratic and human rights.

2.Payment of adequate compensation to me and to all other political detainees for the prolonged and unjustifiable detention in prison.

3.The issuance of public apology by Lee Kuan Yew to me. We are willing and prepared to concede the last two conditions as listed above. We do not believe that an arrogant man like Lee Kuan Yew will apologise or compensate us. On the first condition that is to say, our demand for unconditional and immediate release from detention, and for the complete restoration of all our democratic and human rights – we must resolutely say:













  1. 我必须发表一份公开声明,表述两点:































林福寿医生:人民爱和平 但更爱自由


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;由于无法找到林福寿医生的英文原文,本文章无法刊载英文版。

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


《坚贞的人民英雄》文集之十二—— 附录:林福寿医生的文章、声明、演说与访谈

 人民爱和平 但更爱自由











很明显的,这次的起义是有着绝大多数人民做为后盾。起义的领袖是阿查哈里,他是汶莱人民党的主席。从它最近 在选举中所获得的辉煌成绩,无疑地说明了它是一个深受广大人民所支持的政党。




















  1. 既然他们两位在揭穿行动党政府挪用公积金问题和挑战李光耀神圣不可侵犯的权威问题没有错,为什么要自己“出走”离开呢?

  2. 他们的“出走”不等于是行动党政府胜利了?











  1. 他们的政治目标很明确:要通过在西方民主制度、以合法宪制斗争途径进行争取实现一个真正自由、民主和平等的新加坡社会制度!

  2. 他们明确地向全国人民和全世界公开说明,自己是行动党政府使用各种刑事法律法规为幌子的受害者!他们是在不断遭受这样的政下治迫害,别去选择被迫离开新加坡,到西方国家寻求国际人权组织的保护!

  3. 他们都持有新加坡共和国的合法旅行证件(护照),以合法身份(在当局没有发出任何追捕令(不论刑事追捕通缉令或者列入内部安全局逮捕名单的政治犯之列的)公开乘搭飞机离开新加坡的!



  1. 50年代:








  1. 60-70年代:


“我想,在社阵干部当中,有部分人决定逃走,有人确实走避了。但是,我们的最高级干部全部都被捕,因为不知道谁会被捕。我确信,在英国人、东姑和李光耀三方的逮捕名单中,都有我的名字;可作的选择是逃离新加坡。我们曾经讨论过成立一个流亡政府,但是,后来放弃了这个想法,因为在当时没有太大意义。我们决定去坐牢,在监狱里进行斗争,希望在合并后会获得释放。”I think some of the Barisan cadres decided to run away and some did. But the top cadres were all arrested because we did not know who was going to be arrested. I expected myself to be arrested because I knew I was on the three lists of the British, Tunku and Lee Kuan Yew. The option I had was to run away from Singapore. We did discuss the idea of forming a government-inexile but we dropped the idea because there was not much point at that time. We would just go in and fight it out in prison, hoping that after merger, we would be released. Then we would fight within the context of Malaysia with our comrades in Malaysia to have a socialist front throughout the length and breadth of Malaysia. We believed, at that time, with our united forces the left-wing forces we could bring about a radical change in the whole political context of Malaysia.)(见《坚贞的人民英雄》第128.







  1. 80年代:







  1. 那些在50年代被英国殖民主义者驱逐出境或者为了逃避被逮捕而选择离开新加坡的爱国者,在1959530日新加坡成立自治邦政府后,有一些人也陆续回来了;

  2. 那些在196322日冷藏行动、1963年举行第一次国会选举马来西亚、以及在社阵退出国会后被李光耀追捕的左翼组织成员和爱国者绝大多数都没有机会以公开合法的身份回来新加坡。










  1. 既然他们两位在揭穿行动党政府挪用公积金问题和挑战李光耀神圣不可侵犯的权威问题没有错,为什么要自己“出走”离开呢?

  2. 他们的“出走”不等于是行动党政府胜利了?

  3. 两位青年离开新加坡到国外申请政治庇护或者谋生,不可以视为贪生怕死、或者是默认了行动党政府对他们的政治迫害是很合法的!他们的出走对于长期骄横跋扈的行动党政府绝对不是什么好事!特别是余彭杉的出走到西方国家寻求政治庇护!




  • 历史已经证明了,爱国者为了祖国和人民伟大事业被迫离开祖国流亡到世界各地,并不是他们放弃、逃避或者结束反对行动党政府的斗争!那些从50年代到80年代流亡在世界各地爱国者过去所做的种种努力,已经证明和说明了这一点!

  • 有别于50年代到80年代的流亡国外的爱国者,两位爱国者在正式获得所在国的政治庇护或者居留权后,必将充分利用现代社交媒体的优势继续在国外与独霸的行动党政府进行斗争!


















(英文/中文版)A Brief Chronology and Backgrounds of Dr Lim Hock Siew 林福寿医生简历与历史背景纪略


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 11

 A Brief Chronology and Backgrounds of Dr Lim Hock Siew







(英文/中文版)Dr Lim Hock Siew – A Staunch Socialist 坚定的社会主义者林福寿医生


  1. 为纪念已故前社阵杰出领导人、坚贞的人民英雄林福寿医生逝世五周年,林福寿医生生前的战友于20171月出版了《坚贞的人民英雄》;

  2. 《坚贞的人民英雄》是以中英文对照出版的;

  3. 经《坚贞的人民英雄》编辑部的同意,本网站将分期刊载《坚贞的人民英雄》的文章。


The People’s Hero’s article 10

Dr Lim Hock Siew – A Staunch Socialist

 Wang Rui Rong


I have not met Dr Lim Hock Siew in person ever.

I was still a young boy when Dr Lim, together with Lim Chin Siong and others who were in the vanguard led the left wing parties and organizations in the arduous struggle against the Lee Kuan Yew regime.

I had chanced upon Dr Lim but once and it was a pure coincidence. One day, the car I was in stopped at the traffic lights in front of the Rakyat Clinic at Balestier Road for pedestrians to cross. I saw him walking across the road slowly with a briefcase in his hand. He is my most respected elder, amiable and kind!

At the memorial gathering for Dr Lim, I received a book in memory of him titled Remembering Dr Lim Hock Siew Our Freedom Fighter. I pored over the book and gained a deeper understanding of him.

Dr Lim Hock Siew was undoubtedly a worthy son of our motherland and the people.

Though an English educated intellectual, he was steadfast in his ideological belief and conviction. Dr Lim spent a precious part of his life in the prisons under Lee Kuan Yew fascist regime, and held on steadfastly to his political stand and intellectual conviction. It was particularly challenging for an English educated intellectual in Singapore during the sixties who was an elite to decide to go through 20 years of political imprisonment. But Dr Lim did it!

With great determination, Dr Lim released a statement from prison on 18 March 1972 rejecting Lee Kuan Yew’s threats and inducements.

What he said in his statement has left an indelible impression on me:

‘I am not interested in saving Lee Kuan Yew’s face. This is not a question of pride but one of principle. My detention is completely unjustifiable and I will not lift a single finger to help Lee Kuan Yew to justify the unjustifiable.’

‘Since history has fully vindicated my stand and my position, Lee Kuan Yew should openly and publicly repent to me and to all other political detainees, now unjustifiably detained in prison.’

For the great cause of our motherland and the people, Dr Lim had, without regret, lived through 20 years in Lee Kuan Yew’s prisons!

Dr Lim was full of compassion and showed care for his comrades in arms.

Dr Lim spoke highly of Comrade Lim Chin Siong at the latter’s funeral:

‘No amount of distortion by his detractors can conceal the fact that Chin Siong was the most fearless and uncompromising fighter against British colonialism in Singapore.’

 ‘Although denied a formal higher education, Chin Siong, in the course of his political struggle, had graduated from the highest institution of political education – the political prison. Those who knew him could not but be impressed by his intelligence and knowledge.’

 ‘Chin Siong, you have been a Mount Taishan in our midst! Now, it’s time for you to take your well-earnest rest!’

At the memorial gathering for Tan Jing Quee, Dr Lim commended:

 ‘He was released three months later (note: second arrest) but Jing Quee became even more resolute rather than cowed by his detention. He devoted himself to writing the alternative history of Singapore.’

  ‘His untimely death has deprived us of an intellectual who had devoted his life to the socialist cause. I am proud to salute a brave and dedicated socialist warrior, Comrade Tan Jing Ouee.’

When viewing and judging events, Dr Lim always took a broadminded attitude and an objective and scientific viewpoint. As Chin Siong’s and Jing Quee’s comrade in arms, Dr Lim recognised their contributions in the anti-colonial struggle for independence.

Dr Lim was a student activist who did not merely stop at idealism without action. Aimed at achieving freedom, democracy and equality for the people, he and his comrades played an active part in founding the PAP and helped it to win the general election which brought it into power.

However he was not concerned with personal interest and did not seek any official post in the Lee Kuan Yew regime. When the Malaysia plan was proposed, he and his comrades immediately threw themselves into the struggle to oppose the unequal terms of merger between Singapore and Malaya as put forward by Lee Kuan Yew, and struggled to advance the status of Singapore from self-government to full independence free from the British colonial rule.

He joined his comrades when they were expelled from the PAP to set up the Barisan Sosialis in Singapore. Once again they were to pay a heavy price for the sake of their belief and conviction. Taking advantage of the common desire of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the prime minister of the Federation of Malaya, and the British colonialists to continue their control of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew despicably resorted to Operation Coldstore on 2 February 1963. More than 130 people including Dr Lim and his comrades were detained without trial for long periods of time. Dr Lim was arbitrarily imprisoned for close to 20 years.

On 20 February 2010, Dr Lim was interviewed by Cai Haoxiang of the Straits Times. Commenting on the PAP’s rule, he made some notable remarks.

On workers’ wages, he said that

the Barisan would have provided legal safeguards for the workers, like minimum wage, retrenchment benefits, social welfare benefits and retirement benefits. On the issue of housing for the people, he said the Barisan Sosialis would not have priced flats at a subsidised rate below market rate but would have provided cheap housing at cost.

He also pointed out that the CPF

was meant for retirement and not to tie people down to a housing project.

To him,

the introduction of two integrated resorts threatened moral standards by making Singapore a playground for the ‘international filthy rich’. Singapore might eventually be like Las Vegas where everything has a price but no value.

He said,

‘I don’t think this is a society we all like to have. That the Government places such high hopes on the two casinos shows what a desperate situation the Singapore economy is in.’

Dr Lim thought that

instead of attracting investments from multi-national companies, Singapore should have encouraged small and medium enterprises so that entrepreneurship would flourish as in Hong Kong….

On the remuneration for the ministers, he noted that

a symbolic amount of $10,000 or $20,000 a month would be enough. He said that Barisan leaders were prepared to sacrifice their lives for their political belief. ‘We consider politics as a calling, a responsibility, and a privilege to serve our country, not a career.’

While laid up in hospital, Dr Lim did not forget to support and encourage the younger generation in their activities and struggle.A rally was planned for 2 June 2012 at the Hong Lim Park Speakers’ Corner to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1987 Operation Spectrum.

Though physically weak, Dr Lim was keen to show encouragement and support for the younger generation. He had planned to attend the gathering. However, he was too sick to do so.

On 26 May 2012 he sent short messages to Ms. Teo Soh Lung, reminding her to ‘to press for public inquiry on detainees and abolishment of ISA at the meeting.

Even while he was seriously ill, Dr Lim did not forget his unfulfilled socialist dream.

In remembering Dr Lim on his passing, Dr Poh Soo Kai wrote:

 ‘Dr Lim had intended to attend the gathering at Hong Lim to mark the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum on June 2, but fell ill. I was told he was lucid in the ICU on June 3. News of the event must have made him feel very happy to have lived to see this day, to see the evaporation of fear, and to realize that his sacrifices have not been in vain.’

Dr Lim had devoted his whole life fighting for a free, democratic and just society in his motherland! He is indeed a great socialist of the motherland and the people.

During his long year of imprisonment, Dr Lim had gone through various persecutions and ill-treatments but his fighting will was by no means weakened. Instead, he became even more resolute and steadfast in his conviction!

It is about 5 years since Dr Lim’s passing. The precious legacy he had left us is:

In order to further our great cause of realising freedom, democracy and equality for the country and the people, we shall maintain unwavering confidence, be firm in our stand and strong in our will even facing the strong and brutal fascist rulers!

Dr Lim, you will be forever remembered and respected!