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(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!

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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.

 

《坚贞的人民英雄》文集之十四

附录:林福寿医生的文章、声明、演说与访谈

 

欲加之罪,何患无辞?我绝不轻易苟同拘禁我的正当性!

 林福寿

编按:本文原刊于2013年出版的《新加坡1963年的冷藏行动》

 

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

林福寿医生在他生命的最后五年,眼见人民行动党开始走向衰败。对于替代媒体所带来的改变,他感到振奋。尽管健康不佳,每周要接受三次血液透析,他依然每天开着老旧的马赛地轿车前往人民药房诊病。他工作半天后回到家,便花大部分时间上网浏览,紧密关心新加坡政坛的最新发展。

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

成长年代

我在家里十个孩子当中排行第三,父母都是十足的文盲。我父亲自幼就是个孤儿,他在我们位于甘贝尔(CampbellLane)巷住家附近的竹脚巴刹卖鱼。这是个贫民区,居民绝大多是华人,也有不少印度人与马来人。我们的家庭成员,关系紧密,和蔼可亲的父母一直鼓励我们好好读书,力争上游至力所能及的程度。

我的成长环境启发我认识到穷人所面对的问题与困难,这本身就是一堂政治教育课,让我后来学习到的理论知识变得更有意义,并加强我对生活的社会主义世界观。我也受到弟妹们的激励,他们在政治上很活跃,特别是在195060年代。像他们这样的华校生,在我国人民的政治斗争中扮演着非常积极的角色。然而,当时我的华语很差劲,所以没有跟他们进行过认真的讨论。此外,我也很少在家,因为需要专注我的大学课业和参加学生活动。我父母很明白事理,支持我和弟妹们的所作所为。当我被关进监牢的时候,我家人一直给我精神上的支持。

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。

日治时期,日本人利用警察镇压该地区的华人小贩。我曾目睹一个出外买食物的马来男孩被十多名华族男孩攻击,在短短几分钟内,全身血肉模糊,不忍卒睹。

英国人重返新加坡后,大家都感到宽慰,因为至少法治得以恢复。不过,改变又出现了。英校里所灌输的、认为被英国人统治是荣幸的观念和对殖民体制愚忠的思想,不复存在。我父母坚持让我回到仰光路学校读书。两个学期结束后,我获准报读了莱佛士书院。

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。

每当张三李四受邀到学校演讲,都会开始吹捧莱佛士的美德,并把我们誉为国家的“未来领袖”。因此,我认为自己有必要奋发图强,就到莱佛士图书馆(国家图书馆的前身)阅读书籍,了解当时的政治时事。我阅读尼赫鲁和其他印度领袖描述他们争取独立的事迹,特别是尼赫鲁写给女儿的信,为我开拓一个跟我们所学的历史完全不同的视野,改变了我的人生观。我也参加学校的辩论会,并在1949年参加校际演讲比赛。那些讲题都是轻浮无聊的,例如谈恋爱会否影响学业之类。此外,我同时是本校校刊和各校联合校刊的编委之一。

我读书很用功,在整个中学生涯,都名列前茅;除了读书,我也参加课外活动。我应该说自己是个多面手,极尽所能,尽量利用学校所提供的每一个机会。我原本想在大学选修建筑学科,但没钱到国外深造,因此,跟几乎所有申请报读马来亚大学的学生一样,我把医科作为第一选择。我无怨无悔,因为医科并不只是一门专业学系,那还是一门非常好的人道主义学科。

1950年代的大学生活与政治发展

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。

当时,大多数大学生埋头于大学课业,对政治完全不感兴趣。我要客观地说,他们对政治的漠不关心和消极态度,造成他们在我国人民争取国家独立的斗争中,扮演反动的角色。

尽管如此,大学校园并非是一片沉寂、毫无生气的。19511月,警方搜查校园,并逮捕六个人。政府可以在紧急法令下,轻易闯入大学校园抓人,投入监牢,不加提控或审讯,令我震惊和愤慨。我认为大学应当有一定的尊严和一定的学术自由,然而,政治现实却给我猛然一击。

学生会派代表到监牢探望同学,了解他们的状况。他们可带食物、书本和其他东西。从这点来看,殖民地政府在对待政治犯方面,比行动党政府来得宽仁大度。

马来亚大学社会主义俱乐部的创立,正值全世界范围的殖民地人民呐喊争取国家独立的时候。身为大学生,我们强烈地觉得自己有义务与责任加入我国人民的斗争。社会主义俱乐部成立的目的是为了让同学们有机会聚首、讨论,启发和教育自己,并对政治问题发表意见。我们并没有放眼于积极参加政治斗争。社会主义俱乐部的发起人公开宣告自己的社会主义信念,支持一个独立、统一的社会主义马来亚,包括新加坡在内。我们关心的,不仅是争取国家摆脱殖民统治的问题,还有如何解决独立后人民所面对的重大社会与经济难题。

我在大学的亲密朋友大部分来自马大社会主义俱乐部。跟我一样,他们大多数人也在新加坡或马来西亚遭监禁过。他们包括傅树介医生、劳工党雪兰莪支部主席拉惹古玛医生、新加坡军港工友联合会秘书兀哈尔、新加坡各业工厂及商店职工联合会(“各业”)的詹姆斯·普都遮里、新加坡海港局雇员联合会秘书詹密星、新加坡商行雇员联合会受薪秘书林使宾、新加坡全国新闻工作者协会秘书马哈迪哇、陈蒙鹤、陈仁贵等人。我在大学时期的同伴卡欣阿末和赛胡先阿里是在马来西亚被监禁,两人被捕时是马来西亚人民党领导人。

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。

“五一三”示威丶华校中学生遭逮捕和被控告,以及《华惹》编辑部成员被控以煽动罪等事件,掀起群众性政治运动的高潮。在编辑部成员被捕后,我成为《华惹》的编辑委员,并负责随后成立的《华惹》案辩护基金的筹款活动。

案件经过三天的审讯,控状遭法庭驳回,同学们取得完全胜利。我们觉察天时、地利皆备,可筹组一个严肃的反殖民主义政党,代表人民特别是工人和一般群众的利益与强烈愿望,进行斗争,争取国家独立。工人组织和学生团体是行动党的不可分割的、最有效的组成部分。马大社会主义俱乐部成员以个人身份参与行动党的筹组工作,而左翼工会成员跟行动党领导层关系密切。

1955年的立法议院选举,蒂凡那是行动党花拉公园选区候选人,我自愿协助为期一个月的竞选活动,因为我熟悉该选区。蒂凡那是一位让人印象深刻的演讲家,滔滔不绝的讲述反对殖民主义的道理。在花拉公园选区内有为数不少的受英文教育的选民,大部分是公务员和市议会职工,过着殖民地臣民的安逸生活,当个自由人的念头,会把他们吓坏。另外还有一大群缺乏政治觉悟、目不识丁的华人。他们坦白地说,谁乐意给他们五块钱就投谁的票。

华校中学生善于组织工作,为大众利益而自我牺牲。他们甘冒被扣上共产党帽子、不审就关的风险。殖民地当局是比较不愿意以类似的行动对付马大学生的。在花拉公园选区助选的华校中学生,极为活跃、守纪律和有效力。他们只需要跟负责人交代一下要到哪一区工作,可放心他们会完成任务。没有人为他们提供午餐或安排交通,他们通过募捐筹款,购买一些必需品,例如写标语用的布料等等。然而,他们的自发行动和献身精神却反被指为有人在幕后操控。

我负责安排装置扩音器的广告车,除了在花拉公园选区,也在行动党竞选的其他选区巡回宣传。支付这些费用,我得自掏腰包,并进行募捐,但所得款项只够支付部分开支。我要求蒂凡那支付约三百元的差额。他耸耸肩问道:“我哪里来的钱?”那三百元可是我一个学期的助学金,结果,我有好一段时期身无分文。

在投票日,我陪同行动党武吉知马区候选人林清祥拜票,因为他需要一位讲英语的人跟选举官沟通。他在武吉知马区受到人民普遍支持的热烈程度,令人惊叹。毫不例外,乡村群众热情欢迎他,视如兄弟。林清祥跟他们有共同语言,了解他们的困难,同时又能说服他们,相信他是个不会被收买的人,他会真心诚意为普通大众争取利益。当年他只有21岁。

反殖民主义运动基本上是年轻人的运动,在行动党支部活动的积极分子,大多数是三十岁以下。华校中学生充满知识并受到行动党领导层的鼓舞,在竞选运动中扮演举足轻重的角色。蒂凡那落选了,但是行动党赢得了其他三个议席,以独立人士名义竞选的候选人也当选。马绍尔的劳工阵线组成联合政府,行动党是反对党。

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。

马大社会主义俱乐部的成员都明白,在政治上,组织群众的工作至关重要。离开大学后,兀哈尔、詹密星、詹姆斯·普都遮里和林使宾都参加职工会运动,有些人则前往马来亚联合邦组织工会,我们都认为新加坡是马来亚的一部分。我们并没有成为行动党的中央委员会委员,中委会是由各次党大会选出的。与此同时,我们在党支部也很难扮演任何角色,因为支部成员大多是受华文教育者。

华校生跟新加坡工人紧密结合,为他们争取权益,我想这是因为他们知道自己毕业后可能将成为工人,因为除了在工厂工作、当建筑工人或甚至是普通劳工外,其他职业有限,公共服务的大门对他们紧闭。尽管他们大多数人讲华语,但华文并未获承认为官方语言,马来文或淡米尔文也都不是。

受高深华文教育者站在政府部门的服务柜台前,等同文盲,那个柜台职员可能连一张剑桥普通文凭都没有。华人对这严重的歧视待遇,更是高声反对,因为他们人数众多,并且有能力组织起来。

华校生跟工人结合,也是基于他们的反殖民主义的政治信念。学生们在政治上成熟,对社会负有使命感,因为在自己的群体中,有机会受教育是很荣幸的。他们要帮助工人和人民大众改善生活,只有国家独立才能实现目标。工人与学生的结合,对促成行动党成立以及赢得1959年的大选,具有重大意义。

林有福政府为了向殖民地当局展示其可靠性,在19569月采取镇压行动,封闭许多社团,其中包括新加坡华文中学学生联合会(中学联),并逮捕了过百名活跃分子,开除了140名学生。在十月,又再进行逮捕,迫使学生采取行动。

为了抗议,华校中学生在华侨中学和中正中学集中。过了两个星期,政府发出最后通牒,将在19561025日出动军警,进行驱散。当天傍晚,我和朋友站在华中校门外,在一起的还有四、五百人,看起来像是来自附近乡村的农民和人民。他们对着警察高声叫喊、喝倒彩,结果警察发射催泪弹。暴力冲突爆发,并蔓延到其他地区,当局实施宵禁。骚乱中,有13人丧生、127人受伤,以及约有一千人遭到逮捕。

在立法议院会议上,李光耀断然表示,他深信这次暴动并不是由颠覆组织策动的,而警方应该在情况恶化前,驱散群众。他也表示,如果暴动没有发生,林清祥和其他人也会在另一场合,以相同借口被捕。

经此博得英国人的信任后,林有福在19573月率领一个小规模代表团前往伦敦,举行第二轮默迪卡谈判。马绍尔率领的第一轮谈判注定要失败,因为新加坡各党代表在谈判之前并没有协商一致行动。英国政府单纯是跟他们玩玩罢了。

英国政府并不信任马绍尔,怀疑他行事不够果断、无法控制局面。第二轮宪制谈判确实达致协议,将有一个对人民负责的完全普选的立法议院。但是,那只不过是英国人在我们斗争的那个阶段,放眼其既得利益,认为是安全的让步。这段时期,我正为大学最后一年课业忙得不可开交,没有全力以赴地跟党员们讨论此事,但我总觉得他们对整件事漠不关心。主要的反殖领袖在坐牢,英国人必须做些让步。不过,民选政府在内部安全方面并无全权。回顾过去,事实摆明,李光耀在当时不一定要让新加坡人对内部安全事务有控制权。此外,我觉察所接触的党员,也只是对于禁止政治犯参加本国的第一届大选一事,表示不满。尽管《海峡时报》一直渲染默迪卡代表团取得成功,大众对此反应冷淡,因为当时人民普遍鄙视林有福。

马绍尔谴责这次谈判,声称所获取的成果,比他率领的第一轮谈判时,英国人准备做出的让步来得少。未能获得行动党某部分党员和职工运动者的支持,让李光耀甚感不悦。

李光耀决定辞职,要通过补选重新寻求委托,以表明自己在第二轮默迪卡谈判的立场是正确的。李光耀在立法议院辩论时,抓紧机会要这样做,虽然马绍尔即席向他提出挑战,却遭议长否决。我后来才知道,这个补选其实是已经计划好的,以便李光耀跟林有福切割。

在行动党第4届常年代表大会预定195784日举行之前,我们已经听说党内以工会分子为主的一伙人打算将王永元逐出中央委员会,因为不满王永元曾多次在党的会议上攻击工会分子。我们马大社会主义俱乐部成员认为,这样的公开争论只会在党内造成不满情绪与不团结。身为党财政的王永元若被扫除,李光耀大概会恐怕自己的处境也一样岌岌可危。我们设法会见他们,几经周折,终于跟陈世鑑、吴文斗和陈从今等人交谈。这三位工会分子很礼貌地倾听我们的意见,并表示会考虑我们的看法,但我们知道他们决心已定。

结果是,六位亲李光耀的与六位亲工会的候选人分别当选党的中央执行委员会(中委会)委员,王永元被排除在外。李光耀对于无法控制大部分党员,感到震惊,他的派系拒绝在中委会任职。李光耀当时的决定和声明被许多人解读为公开邀请英国人和林有福逮捕行动党内的异议分子。我们觉得不安,遂前往李光耀的办公室见他,尝试说服他改变主意,但他固执已见。

822日,政治部援引“维护公众安全法令”逮捕了35人,包括新当选的6位中央委员中的5位。社会主义俱乐部的成员的看法是,逮捕行动给李光耀派系带来两项好处。其一是,英国人会解读为这一派系意欲要跟6位左翼中委保持距离;同时,对行动党党员被捕没有出现抗议行动,表明可以期待这一派系来维护其殖民利益。其二,当林清祥和其他工会领袖还在坐牢时,5位左翼领袖的被捕可让李光耀派系在大选之前,更能够控制党组织。

195711月举行的党常年代表大会上,李光耀实行干部党员制,剥夺党支部和普通党员选举中央委员的权利,实际上是彻底破坏党的民主性质。这一切标志我们对李光耀幻想,开始破灭。我们开始觉得他根本不是民主人士,而更让我们怵目惊心,看到他冷酷无情地让英国人和林有福政府将自己党内的反对派关进监牢。过了相当久后,我们从6位中委中唯一没有被捕的知知拉惹那里得知,在他以代表律师身份探访关在狱中的蒂凡那时,蒂凡那向他表示“六-六”方案。

蒂凡那当时在工会分子当中,声望非常高,他们必定以为他的话是代表狱中的其他工会领袖的立场。我们并不知道林清祥当时没有跟蒂凡那关押在同一个地方,他俩无法沟通。我现在的看法是,那些工会分子只不过是执行他们以为是狱中领导人的指示办事而已。这件事过了很久后,知知拉惹跟蒂凡那提起此事,蒂凡那只是一笑置之,并说知知拉惹误解他。其时,蒂凡那已经更向李光耀靠拢了。

在大选前,有传闻行动党可能跟林有福合作。1959511日,据《海峡时报》报导,马绍尔指林有福在台面上对李光耀粗声粗气,在台面下则“勾勾搭搭”,我们知道其意涵是他们正在组成联合阵线。我和5位朋友闯入李光耀的住所,他对该报道未加否认。他对我们回答的要点是,如果行动党不跟劳工阵线结盟,那么就必须对抗其他所有政党。记得我反驳他,声辩说,如果其他所有政党都联合起来反对行动党,那岂不是更好,因为这样一来,界线就会分明,人民就能看清楚谁是亲殖民主义者,谁是反殖民主义者。李光耀对我的胆敢冒犯,甚感不悦。这一切只经历5分钟,因为他正要赶去赴约。 

1959年的大选,尽管建议我充当行动党候选人的提名遭领导层拒绝,我仍自愿参加工作,主要是在讲英语选民的选区,为行动党助选,这些选区对行动党充满敌意。行动党的胜利提高了工人阶级争取改变整个社会结构的希望,期盼他们的生活得到改善。

大选之后,行动党发出通告,张贴在各个支部,宣布将140多名党员开除出党,我也榜上有名。我事先未获通知,其实,我根本未被告知此事。

行动党接着推行某些不得人心的政策,例如抨击我们人民当中讲英语的人们,说他们大部分是活在《海峡时报》塑造的世界里,该报设想行动党是非常不受欢迎。他们对行动党在选举中大胜,感到震惊。政府削减公务员的薪金,在我看来,此举带有个人恩怨和报复的意味,而且在原则上是完全反社会主义的。一个政治领袖的思想中,不应当存有这些东西,讲英语人士在政治上向来受到殖民主义者误导。与其谴责、羞辱他们,因而进一步疏离他们,倒不如努力争取他们跟工人团结起来,共同奋斗。当时我在竹脚妇产科医院工作,在政府部门服务的高级医生,有许多人考虑集体辞职,并不是为了减薪的原因,而是为了尊严受辱。我身陷非常尴尬之境,因为他们当中有很多人以为我还是行动党党员。我什么也不说,免得行动党为难。在一次会议上,有些医生主张罢工,我提醒他们要三思而后行,因为罢工行动会是持久的,结果可能导致医疗服务全面改组。虽然他们最终放弃罢工的念头,但挫折感愈发强烈。

行动党的胜利,不足为奇。它只不过是依靠人民群众对殖民主义制度的不满情绪。在1954年行动党成立时,因为林有福政府的专横无能,不满情绪早就存在,人民想要改变。

人们一般上都知道,工会分子将会支持行动党,只要该党答应使他们的领袖获得自由,这就是造就行动党胜利的重大因素。没有工会的支持,行动党是非常脆弱的。8位最高层的工会领袖,包括林清祥、方水双、詹姆斯·普都遮里与兀哈尔终于被释放,但还有其他十多人或更多人没有被获释。

在不到1年内,行动党内出现王永元跟李光耀之间的激烈斗争。据我们所知,纯粹是为了个人的野心,两人之间在政治理念上并不存在实质性冲突。不过,王永元巧用策略,以群众的普遍要求为纲领,例如缺乏党内民主,以及行动党左派关注的其他议题。王永元的16条提案是得到工会分子支持的课题,不过,他是个机会主义者。工会分子决定必须公开支持行动党,该党把王永元开除了。王永元随后辞去立法议院议席,并在芳林补选赢得漂亮的胜利。不派林清祥上阵,在补选中挑战王永元(李光耀当然不会这样做),王永元当然可保住芳林选区。

合并建议与社会主义阵线

1961429日的芳林补选之后,东姑出乎我们的预料,突然间提出马来西亚计划。不过,显而易见,合并计划实际上并非东姑倡议的,而是英国人的主意,因为它涉及安排北婆罗洲(沙巴的前称)、砂拉越、新加坡和文莱苏丹国等英国殖民地,跟马来亚合并。英国人试图以新的伪装来持久延续殖民主义,或称为新殖民主义。他们不让新加坡取得完全独立,因为新加坡的左翼政治运动占绝对优势,可在自由、公平的选举中轻易胜出。为了保住自己的权位,李光耀愿意追随英国人和东姑的谋划,让新加坡受马来亚联合邦主宰,使新加坡在马来亚国家内不享有同等的政治地位。这是英国人耍弄的族群偏向主义(communalist)政治谋划,好让新加坡和婆罗洲殖民地“沉并入”(submerged)保守派统领的马来亚联合邦,以便英国人可持久主宰本地区的经济和军事事务。

自从1946年当槟城和马六甲两个海峡殖民地并入马来亚联合邦、新加坡成为分割开来的殖民地以来,新加坡左派就极力要求跟马来亚重归统一。但是在1961年,我们所面对的不是重归统一,而是英国人要持久主宰本地区的经济和军事事务的谋划。19617月,在安顺补选败选后,行动党开除了13位持有异议的立法议员和政治秘书,指他们拒绝毫无保留地支持该党要加入马来西亚的条件,当时明确的合并条件尚未公布。这13人和工会团体决定另起炉灶,成立社会主义阵线。

此刻,我决定加入,因为社阵是唯一能起作用的政党,可以把我们的反殖斗争再向前推进一步。当兀哈尔争取我加入社阵时,我相信我可以为我国的社会主义斗争做出实质贡献,特别是因为社阵成员大多数是受华文教育者。我和傅树介循公共服务条例规定,辞去政府医院的工作,加入社阵,并当选中央执行委员。

社阵不乏候选人角逐1963年的来届大选。无数人献身为党服务;至关重要的是,我们的领袖接近群众运动,能够反映人民的观点和强烈愿望。行动党内约百分之7580的充满活力的实干型党员,集体退党,加入社阵。如果行动党有党内民主,这些异议者早就控制整个党了。社阵其实是由退出行动党的大部分党员组成的。

我很荣幸,能够协助社阵议员准备发言稿,供他们在立法议院进行马来西亚合并白皮书的辩论。此外,我也从事主要的研究工作,负责为李绍祖和巴尼草拟发言稿。我对社阵的合并立场所抱持的坚定信念,在很大程度上帮助我渡过漫长的牢狱岁月,加强我坐牢的斗志,经受住各种磨难,战胜要搞垮我的各种伎俩。历史事实已经证明我的立场和社阵的立场都是正确的。

社阵议员在立法议院的发言,决心要戳穿官方立场的虚假性,并阐明我们的合并理念。东姑阿都拉曼和行动党单凭我们反对他们的合并方案,就指我们反对合并的理念和目标,绝对是歪曲我们的立场。我们已经公开表明我们的论述,那就是,他们的建议并不是为了让新、马两地真正的重归统一,而是为了镇压新加坡强大的劳动阶级运动。英国人并不准备抗拒争取独立的浪潮、公然镇压新加坡真正的反殖力量,因此期望假手于友好的保守派政府,自己躲在背后。然而,东姑或李光耀都不愿意为此单独承担责任。英国人也把大马来西亚计划视为处理砂拉越问题的途径,在那里,砂拉越人民联合党在领导强大的左翼运动,进行斗争。此外,将婆罗洲地区纳入马来西亚也能让掌控联合邦政府的马来种族主义分子安心。

社阵所要的是新加坡作为一个州属加入马来亚联合邦,在合并当天,所有新加坡公民自动成为马来亚联合邦公民,新加坡也像其余十一个州的公民一样,在马来亚联合邦国会享有比例代表议席。但是,东姑不断强调他不准备让新加坡公民成为联合邦公民,理由是新加坡有太多华人,也有太多共产党。对我们而言,不断地反复讲种族人数是一项非常危险的政治游戏。

我们认为,马来亚人民是由不同种族构成的,不应该进行种族歧视。我们相信,我国的被压迫人民占人口的绝大多数,在争取经济自由的斗争中,各族工人和农民有团结一致的广泛基础。独立的意义是,我们必须在政治、社会和经济等方面实现根本改变,而不仅仅是一场墨守成规的表演,正如出现在许多国家的现象,表面上是独立了,但发现仍遭受披上新伪装的殖民统治。比利时让刚果独立,第一任总理卢孟巴主张把国内主要产业收归国有,结果马上被比利时殖民主义者的雇佣兵推翻,并遭杀害。刚果继续被殖民主义既得利益集团间接统治。

对我们而言,新加坡的现实斗争方式是向联合邦政府施压,争取实现真正的完全合并,接受新加坡成为马来亚的一个州属,并争取新、马两地的社会主义力量联合起来,通过和平的宪制方式,实现具有意义的改变。我们是从泛马来亚整体观出发,思考问题。诚如李绍祖在立法议院所言,我们所要的无他,就是新加坡和联合邦在政治上完全结合,拥有共同的联邦公民权、选民册、中央行政和立法机关、共同的生活和命运。行动党的方案是在政治上阉割新加坡人民,因为如果在联邦国会没有比例代表议席,新加坡的政治影响力将极为有限。因此,社阵认为行动党的合并方案对新加坡人民的政治利益,极其不利,并将加剧马来人和华人之间的种族紧张关系。在合并一年后,在19647月和9月,新加坡就爆发了种族暴乱。

196292日的全民公投进行前,在跟李光耀进行公开辩论会上,我确实这样说:“在我们争取新加坡和马来亚大陆两地人民实现真正重归统一的斗争中,行动党的合并计划是倒退一步,而不是向前一步。”我们预言,合并计划的失败将加剧新加坡和马来亚大陆两地人民的裂痕。不单是因行动党、联合邦政府和英国人的机会主义而丧失了构建一个重归统一的马来亚国家的黄金机会,而且新加坡人民的马来亚整体观也遭行动党扼杀,以便掩盖其合并计划的失败。

在为全民公投进行宣传活动期间,我很惊讶地发现人民大体上是反对合并的,因为对东姑的谈话非常反感,东姑曾说因新加坡华人太多而不接受新加坡加入全面的合并。社阵并不利用华人的感受来煽动种族情绪,而是设法说服华人相信真正的重归统一对各族人民都有好处,并告诉他们,那些冒犯的话是出自联合邦的一小部分种族主义分子之口。行动党面对联合邦时,把我们描绘成是亲华人的,而却对新加坡人民指责我们亲马来人,要把华人出卖给联合邦去受压迫和歧视。他们玩弄所谓教育政策和劳工政策自主,声称他们是新加坡讲华语人民的利益的保护者。

社阵指出,行动党在利用教育政策和劳工政策的自主,作为削减新加坡在联合邦国会代表议席的借口。在新加坡,我们的社会主义观点是站主导地位的。如果不受限制,我们学校和大学所培养出来的学生,在政治观点方面肯定会比联合邦政府所能容许的,更为进步。被行动党出卖后,他们的结局是挤满樟宜监狱和华都加也监狱。同样地,维护工人权益的唯一保障,就是要保有强大、独立的职工运动。工人们目睹他们的工会领袖被扣上危害安全的罪名,不经审讯而被关押。他们知道,内部安全的控制权掌握在不同情劳工的中央政府手中,将使所谓劳工政策自主沦为笑柄。

19611121日,李绍祖在立法议院指出,据报道,东姑论述有关新加坡的教育政策跟“拉曼达立报告书”有所抵触时,这样说:“如果以后发现(政策)应当作出修改时,那么就应该采取步骤加以修改”;该报告书对马来亚的华文教育极其不利和充满敌视。教育政策自主就是这么一回事。

李绍祖继续阐述社阵的观点说,指行动党在玩弄“两面的族群偏向路线”。一方面,它口口声声说教育政策自主,以迎合华人的沙文主义情绪;另一方面,又强调如果实现真正的合并,联合邦公共服务的优待马来人的四比一的政策,将在新加坡实施。行动党在采取突出的种族主义路线来对抗社阵的立场。我们已经清楚表明,社阵反对偏袒种族的优惠待遇,但将在泛马来亚的宪政体制内,争取改变状况。这类课题应当在联邦国会上摊开来讨论,做出的决定必须在全马来西亚实施。

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;

他们以为,谎言说得越吓人,宣传效果就越好。

行动党领导层的智囊团又提出联合邦国籍的概念,以及第二等联合邦公民权和新加坡公民权。他们说每个人都获得联合邦国籍,因此是平等的,都持有相同护照,在法律上也是平等。我们指出,在逻辑上,我们只在两方面享有平等,持马来西亚护照出国、在国内上法庭的时候。但在其他方面我们都不平等,新加坡公民不能在马来西亚联合邦的其他任何州属提名竞选。拉惹勒南说这是平等的,因为其他州属的人也不可以在新加坡提名竞选。重重疑云垄罩着整个合并方案,行动党在全民公投造势活动中,散播各种谣言和进行恐吓。

行动党也指社阵害怕按行动党的方案合并后,内部安全事务将由中央政府掌控。不过,我们强调,我们欢迎完全的、真正的合并,新加坡内部安全事务归中央政府管理。我们准备在重归统一后做出牺牲,我们在联合邦的社会主义同志已经做出牺牲了。在这方面,1961918日的《海峡时报》引述了林清祥一席话,“身为一个经历过压制性政治拘留的人,我表明我们准备做出这样的牺牲。身为社会主义者,我们不应该让个人安全阻碍国家统一。”

社阵的立场,如李绍祖在立法议院上坚持者,就是“要实现合并,不能靠那些存在族群偏向的政客们,甚至也不能靠那些表面上装成没有族群偏向,却又乐意怂恿族群偏向弊端的人……在新加坡的大多数华人(同样地,在联合邦的大多数华人)跟联合邦的马来人之间,并不存在利益冲突,因为这两个社群的大多数人都是贫穷的……。在新加坡,华族工人跟马来族和印度族工人一起工作,一起对不论什么种族的剥削阶级进行斗争,争取改善生活待遇。”

社阵议员巴尼详细叙述:“身为一名时时刻刻跟他们一起工作的职工运动者,我看到各种族工人遭遇相同的困难,面对同样的难题,也同样希望争取提升生活水平……。如果各族穷人分别行动,要求改善生活待遇,所能争取到的成果,肯定比不上联合起来斗争的成果。”(19611130日立法议院辩论记录,第1029栏)。巴尼提醒立法议院,正是新加坡的社会主义运动劝说华人、印度人和其他非马来社群接纳非族群偏向路线,并且接受马来语为国语。

行动党领导层的合并方案是拱手让联合邦完全主宰新加坡。如果该党是争取新加坡与联合邦的真正重归统一,社会主义者将会全心全意支持,我们取得成功的机会非常好。我们参加政治是为了维护人民的权益,为实现他们的心愿而斗争。为此,我坚信必须要具备某些廉正素质、知识分子的诚信和基本原则。在我看来,令人震惊的是,行动党领导层更关心的是眼前的政治目标。

合并课题的全民公投

立法议院对全民公投法案的辩论,在19623月前后开始,并且一直拖延91日全民公投日。全民公投是政府捏造的骗局,欺骗新加坡人民,其诈欺手法是史无前例的,表明执政党准备为了保住其权力地位而无所不用其极。首先,供选择的,不是接受合并或拒绝合并。行动党又增加另外两个选项,因此选民必须从三个选项中选择其一。选项B算是社阵的建议,但政府把它曲解为将有一半新加坡公民自动丧失公民权益,选项C则是给婆罗洲地区开出的条件。我记得当李光耀在联合国发表有关谈话时,做出了斩钉截铁的保证,在第三个选项即新加坡按婆罗洲地区的模式跟马来西亚合并的情况明朗之前,新加坡政府不会就合并问题举行全民公投。但是,全民公投却在196291日举行了,是在我们从联合国回来不久后,当时,砂拉越和英属北婆罗洲合并条件,尚无眉目,悬而未决。

立法议院通过一项法令,规定空白票将算是支持政府的选项,但是行动党的宣传机器却刻意混淆,吓唬人民说,空白票也可能算是赞成选项B。根据法律,把选票毁坏是犯刑事法的,可判处罚款、坐牢,并且褫夺投票权七年。没有反对党会公然触犯刑事罪。投票是强制性的,没有投票者将从选民册上除名。法令也允许政府不公布所投下的空白票或废票的票数。

全民公投法案辩论从一开始,政府就非常清楚表示,他们不会因人民拒绝选项A而辞职。李光耀和杜进才一再表示,全民公投仅仅是咨询人民的意见,不影响政府的地位。担心因没有投选行动党的选项而遭报复的恐惧气氛,日益加剧,该党也无所作为,不去消除人民的恐惧感,这跟以前的选举不同,在过去,政府的选举机器一再强调投票是秘密的。在沿家挨户访问选民过程中,人民一再表示害怕遭到报复,而不太关心合并问题。社阵明白,在这样的情况下,我们不可能号召人民抵制全民公投,因为政府可轻易追查没有投票的选民。再者,如果政府宣布闪电大选,我们的支持者会因抵制全民公投而丧失投票权,不能投票了。我们有信心赢得选举,不做任何足以危害我们的胜利前景的事情。因此,我们号召投空白票,因为我们的基层党员告诉我们说,人民行动党恐吓选民,让他们相信选择选项B将会让半数新加坡公民遭褫夺投票权。在宣传活动接近尾声时,出现广泛谣言说,如果绝大多数人拒绝选项A,联合邦政府会切断对新加坡的水供。我们不准上电台发表意见,而行动党则一直在利用电台进行宣传。其他反对党也不得使用装有扩音器的广告车进行宣传。我们知道,人民面对的恐吓太大了,心里的恐惧太深了,要他们不投选项A,很不容易。

19627月,在全民公投举行前约两个月,李绍祖、兀哈尔和我一同到纽约去,向联合国殖民主义问题委员会陈述社阵的立场,该委员会的成立是为了加速非殖民主义化行程。

我们认为,全民公投的机制并没有让新加坡人民有权表达自己的心愿,选择自己的政治命运。

我们并不对该委员会抱有任何幻想,因为联合国是受美国人和英国人支配的,我们只是想把它当作发表我们观点的平台。我认为我们在联合国的表现值得称赞。该委员会要求李光耀和吴庆瑞答辩,吴庆瑞先作答,但说话平淡无奇,李光耀从旁切入,几乎是从吴庆瑞手中把话筒抢过来,长篇大论捍卫自己的立场。

全民公投投选项A的结果,根本没有改变我们的分析。社阵在立法议院上极力主张,让新加坡人民决定的真正途径就是举行大选,在竞选期间,我们会作好准备,劝说人民给予我们委托,去争取完完整整的合并,在完整马来亚国家的架构上实现独立。但我们面对的现实是,联合邦政府拒绝让新加坡以正式州属的地位跟马来亚联合邦的其余州属完全合并,甚至拒绝让新加坡成为马来西亚邦联架构下的自治邦,因此,我们别无选择,只有继续向殖民地政府施压,争取更多更多的自由。我们肯定不接受行动党的主张,让新加坡在政治上停滞不前。

无论以何种形式合并后,对于联合邦政府会在新加坡进行逮捕和大规模压制政治反对派的前景,我们一点也不抱有幻想。至于掌握各种压迫手段、武装到牙齿的行动党,我们也一样不存有幻想。行动党的操弄只是为了短期的政治权宜,但却让重归统一的整体动力完全往后倒退。结果,造成新加坡和马来西亚分裂、吉隆坡和新加坡两地的统治集团之间的敌视加剧,以及行动党领导层狂热地鼓噪为新加坡人民建立一个分开的政治个体。

后果是,新加坡跟马来亚大陆重归统一的历史进程,遭遇严重挫折。原本是英国人为其殖民利益而让新加坡跟马来亚分离的暂时性布局,却让行动党政治机会主义者和联合邦的联盟政府成功地变成永久定局。他们对国家统一所造成的破坏,实际上是浩劫,可能需要好几代人才能修复。

冷藏行动

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。

我们知道他们一定要在来届大选之前将我们逮捕,但是直到196322日之前,没有任何混乱足以让他们有借口对付我们。在这一个月前,我们得到的消息说,英国人、联合邦政府和行动党政府已各自拟定逮捕名单,其中以行动党的名单最长。左翼领袖决定不出国躲避逮捕,而是以坐牢来暴露敌人。最后,社阵实际上还是被诬蔑跟文莱起义有关,成为“冷藏行动”的理据。

21日,跟踪我们的政治部特务,人数显然增加了。兀哈尔从吉隆坡朋友口中得知逮捕行动即将开始,当晚他和太太在我们家里留宿。兀哈尔夫妻结婚的时间比我跟我太太结婚的时间来得短,在情感上未有充分准备。当警方在凌晨约四点钟上门的时候,我头脑非常清醒、心理上有所准备。根据《海峡时报》24日的报道,李光耀试图推卸逮捕责任,声称:“如果说是新加坡政府的行动,决不是我们会考虑的,那是没有必要的,因为我们可以一直拖延到831日,”就是合并来临之日。合并后的逮捕行动,责任就全归马来西亚政府。

我和太太结婚的时候,就知道我们迟早要分开,可能会分开很多年。尽管心中有数,我被带走时,彼此还是激动的。

我们结婚才刚刚一年多,儿子才约莫五个月大。但我们鼓起勇气,我告诉她,我们或许会在七、八年后重聚;那时候,政治犯被关押的最长时期是七、八年。在警车上,我做了最坏打算,因为我听过英国人对付政治犯的恐怖手段。

所有被逮捕者被带到欧南监狱的大厅。拥有马来亚公民权的被捕者遭遣送回半岛,包括詹姆斯·普都遮里、多米尼·普都遮里、兀哈尔、方水双,以及泛星各业职工会的特出领袖陈德华。这出乎我的预料,因为他们以前在新加坡被扣留过。但这一次,作为内部安全理事会成员的马来亚政府也涉及这次大逮捕,我知道他们的遭遇将比我们更严酷。

新加坡脱离马来西亚

李光耀不断对新加坡人民承诺,说马来西亚将在1963831日成立,但是东姑决定要等待奉派到砂拉越和北婆罗洲(沙巴当时的称谓)了解民意的联合国特派团的调查结果。因此,在831日,我们在电视上看到李光耀耍花招,宣布新加坡独立,英国人并不承认新加坡的独立;李光耀也在政府大厦大草场的一场场面凄惨的集会,发表演说。

八月底,行动党领导层开始筹备迎接马来西亚成立的活动,在全岛各处建起所谓的凯旋门,准备庆祝,并到各个选区巡视。实际上这是在掩饰他们为应对来届大选的竞选活动。果不其然,大选就定在921日举行,竞选活动期只有九天,而不是通常的四个星期。

对我而言,是否有马来西亚,我们都会继续坐牢,眼前更重要的事情是大选。我们当中有些人讨论我们是否应该在牢中参加竞选,但却发现行动党已暗中修改法律,规定候选人在提名日必须亲自提交提名表格。这件事不是广为人知的,我们是在大选宣布前查阅法律条文才知道。在这之前,提交表格可通过代理人如候选人的律师代办。我们也得知,社阵内定提名的候选人因怕被捕,不得不匿藏起来,该法律可防止他们提交提名表格。一个实例便是新加坡厂商雇员联合会副主席陈修水,他和四、五位前政治犯在提名日被扣留在警察局。因此,必须要有确保候选人安全的周全计划,暗地里把他们带进提名站。在不民主的选举条例下,我对社阵胜选机率持保留态度。社阵的所有高层领导人统统在狱中,经验丰富干部也不例外。行动党的造谣机器忙着散播谣言,说如果社阵胜选,新加坡就会爆发种族暴乱,中央政府也会切断水供。

51个议席中,行动党赢得37席,社阵赢得13席(得票率分别为46.9%33.2%)。大选结果公布后,有好些政治犯情绪低落,他们原本希望社阵胜选后,他们就可获释。我的看法则不同,认为这样的选举结果,将导致更多次的大逮捕。

那些对释放存有幻想的朋友,他们的政治思维和分析,都真的错了。不久,他们中有很多人都清醒过来,但也有些人屈服于当局的要求,发表公开声明“悔过”,以获得释放,使拘留他们的虚假理据合理化。

927日,也就是大选结果公布后的一个星期内,警方闯入南洋大学搜捕,带走20名在籍生和毕业生,包括三位落选的候选人。大选期间,南大学生倾巢出动,志愿协助社阵的竞选活动。不久,樟宜监狱的“E座”就挤满南大在籍生和毕业生。

南大逮捕事件后,跟着就是轮到工会分子被捕。在19639月的大选之前,行动党已经向会员总数超过10万人的七个大工会发出通知,要求说明不应该被吊销注册的理由。在这之前,在政府大厦草场的一场集会上,李光耀在讲到日本血债问题时被喝倒彩。李光耀指喝倒彩事件是共产党人授意工会分子组织的。在吊销注册的期限逼近时,工会号召总罢工。

三十多人被逮捕,包括社阵的国会议员巴尼、李思东和卢妙萍。第二梯队工会领袖如黄循立和陈仁贵也被关入牢房。

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。

19655月,行动党带头发起成立马来西亚团结机构,结合了争取“马来西亚人的马来西亚”的各政党,加剧了巫统和行动党之间的敌意。1965710日举行的芳林补选,正值行动党争取加入联盟的活动达到高潮的时候。这次芳林补选是因王永元辞去国会议席而举行的,普遍认为王永元是受到中央政府的怂恿,借以测试行动党的支持率,好让东姑决定如何最好地应付李光耀。我们听说联盟政府考虑释放社阵高层领导,让他们在补选中跟行动党较量。内安局的一些高级官员曾到监狱试探林清祥的意见,我们并不为此事而激动,明知替联盟击败行动党、干完此肮脏勾当后,我们又会被送回监牢。

最后,中央政府明显地决定不采纳这谋略。选举结果,行动党候选人李炯才击败社阵候选人王清杉,这显然让巫统领袖泄气,不打算逮捕李光耀了。无论如何,李光耀毕竟有英国丶澳大利亚和纽西兰在撑腰,当时,这三个国家的军队正在应付印尼的对抗。行动党主席杜进才在访问澳大利亚和纽西兰期间,提到李光耀可能会被逮捕,并警示两国政府,他们的军队可能沦为不是捍卫一个民主政府,而是捍卫一个压迫性政府,似乎在说,把自己的主要政治对手关押在监牢的行动党政府是比较好的。

721日,在行动党赢得补选后的不到两周内,庆祝回教先知穆罕默德诞辰的游行队伍,爆发种族冲突,这使东姑坚信新加坡必须脱离马来西亚。新、马分家的消息宣布后,我们非常震惊,英国人也一样,对不获李光耀信任的行动党高层领袖也感到惊讶。我们曾警告说,行动党提出的马来西亚概念行不通,事实已证明我们是完全正确的,但我们对分家感到痛心,因为双方所煽动起来的敌对,意味我们为争取新加坡和马来亚半岛两地人民永久统一的斗争,遭遇重大挫折。即便是我们曾反对1963年的合并,我们却认为,一旦新加坡成为马来西亚的一部分,正确的道路应该是在马来西亚的架构内,争取团结。在监狱“E座”的所有一百多名政治犯挤在一个小房间内收看李光耀的电视记者会,当他说到在成年之后就期盼新加坡和马来亚统一,为此奋斗时,情绪失控,泣不成声。

我们的期盼是,如果他是真心相信马来西亚,就应当坚持信念,甚至不惜为此而坐牢。

李绍祖下令抵制1965129日举行的国会会议,当天会议的议事日程是辩论新加坡独立法案和宪法修正法案。1966111日,全体社阵国会议员按党的指示辞去国会议席。这次抵制行动是为了抗议国会和全国缺乏民主自由。贯穿新加坡还在马来西亚的整个时期,新加坡国会难得开会。社阵发表的声明也指出,像新加坡和马来西亚分家这等重大事件,只由少数几个人决定,没有在国会进行辩论,成为笑柄。然而在这个时候,社阵内部也缺乏团结,党领袖也没有展开有效的群众活动,重点阐述继续留在国会是毫无意义。不幸地,无论是社阵党内还是左翼工会内部的辩论也失焦,没有针对主要问题,而以舍本逐末告终。如果说有内奸捣乱分子从中捣鬼,我一点也不惊奇。如果社阵的主要领导人没有被捕,这一切问题都可以友好地解决。身为社会主义者,我们肯定同意社阵领导层的看法,指新加坡的独立是虚假的,理由是新加坡在经济上没有自立,而且也存在外国军事基地。

这些都是党内要辩论的重要课题。以我来说,不断叫嚷假独立来反对行动党,是一条错误的道路,因为用口号进行斗争,只会混淆人民的视听。

身陷囹圄的政治犯

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。

单独监禁是最残酷的精神虐待之一。根据监狱条例,一个被判刑的囚犯若触犯监狱条例,可被单独监禁作为惩罚,但每次单独监禁不得连续超过两个星期。医学权威认为,单独监禁会对一个平常人造成精神错乱。然而,政治犯经常被单独监禁超过两个月。我也知道有一个案例,有一名政治犯被单独监禁超过两年,之后,他的精神保持正常完好,这是对他的意志力和人格的一次严正考验。我们的直系亲属可以每周探望我们一次,跟那判刑犯人不同,堂兄弟姐妹、表兄弟姊妹、姻亲、未婚夫、未婚妻以及男女朋友都不准探望政治犯。

种种磨难反而使我意志更加坚定,因为磨难让我更深入看清楚这个政权的真面目、其独裁而残酷的本性。很不幸地,有些政治犯对监狱里的苛刻待遇没有心理准备。我知道有一、两个政治犯患上幽闭恐惧症、精神错乱,有自杀倾向。

社阵主席李绍祖和其他社阵议员探望我们,并调查我们的生活状况。在19634月国会开会时,李绍祖发表冗长演说,详细叙述欧南监狱的恶劣境况。我们并不幻想我们狱中待遇会因此得到改善,但这会成为历史纪录。事实上,因为说出真相,我们遭到更残酷的待遇,作为惩罚。那些被关押在中央警署拘留所的政治犯,境况更恶劣。

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。

咨审局主席是温斯罗(Winslow)法官。我要求他告诉我如何联络我的律师,他答说他无权协助我联络律师。于是我要求聆讯会改期,以便我联络我的律师,他说那已超越他的权限,无能为力。我要求咨审局记录在案,说我是内部安全理事会下令逮捕的,目的是镇压政治反对派,我不期盼咨审局的推荐意见有任何意义。那些控状包含事实错误,其中一条理据指我是1954年被控煽动罪的“华惹”刊物编辑部成员之一,这根本不是事实。无论如何,那些被控者都无需答辩,全部无罪释放。但是,他们即便是被判罪名成立,也是光荣的事,因为煽动是针对殖民地政府。

我询问温斯罗法官,控状纸上的段落之间留下空白到底是怎么回事。他解释说空白处就是当局认为我不应该知道的理据,虽然咨审局成员可以阅读其内容,真是荒谬得很,令我觉得可笑。我告诉这位高等法院法官说,如果我是在他的位置上,我宁可辞职,不要被迫在道德上卷入这场司法程序的虚假表演。他静默无言。

出席第二次聆讯会时,我请他们把对我上次所提出要求的答复,记录在案;我的要求是,把对我第一次上诉所作出的决定通知我。真正令我恼怒的是,尽管指我是1954年被控煽动罪的“华惹”刊物编辑部成员之一的谎言陈词,已基于事实遭到彻底揭穿,这一谎言依然出现在控状纸上。如所料,咨审局表示无权把他们的决定告诉我。我因此告诉咨审局,我不想再配合这种虚伪的上诉聆讯程序。在19655月,“E座”的政治犯集体写信给咨审局主席,宣布我们今后抵制咨审局,列述决定抵制的理由。在其他监狱分区的政治犯也发出相同的信函,同意抵制上诉聆讯程序。

19651121日,我们获知林清祥被送入新加坡中央医院。第二天,《海峡时报》报导林清祥的亲莫斯科派和我的亲北京派发生殴斗,林清祥蒙受重伤。这是不可能的事情,因为我跟他是被囚禁在监狱的不同分区,彼此没有联络。这则新闻让我们有机会控告《海峡时报》诽谤,我们有好多人都上法庭供证。

政治犯也展开两天的绝食,抗议当局给媒体提供假消息。

经法庭的聆审结果,查明假消息发放者不是别人而正是内部安全局局长戴少华本人。反击这些谎言和其他形式的迫害,提高了我们的士气。无论社阵或其他左翼团体遭遇什么困难或存在分歧,在狱中的我们都下定决心,坚持斗争,维护我们的立场,要求立即无条件释放。我们的士气来自我们所坚持的为正义事业、为统一的社会主义马来西亚而斗争的信念,而历史已证明了这一点。

我们在19667月又上法庭。两位社阵国会议员谢太宝和顾泱在法庭被控在《阵线报》上指控政府试图谋杀林清祥。当时,有传闻说林清祥曾试图自杀。在那个阶段,政府千方百计要使狱中的政治犯丧失斗志,试图强迫我们发表悔过书、上电视自白,以及提出种种条件,换取释放。《阵线报》的文章也提到政府一直不断地虐待和迫害政治犯。审讯初期,主控官萧添寿要求两名被告提出证据。辩护律师知知拉惹问我,有哪些政治犯愿意出庭供证,证明曾遭虐待。当我在“E座”宣布此事时,群情激动,由于很多人想出庭作证,我们几乎要以抽签来决定。政府的目的之一显然想要将林清祥描绘成精神错乱的人。

然而,林清祥当时状态良好,神志清醒。精神稳定,应付萧添寿的冗长盘问,表现出色。至少在公众面前和政治犯眼中,他的政治形象恢复了。我有机会出庭作证,指出政治犯的基本伙食,其品质低于世界卫生组织所规定的标准。

虽然两名被告被定罪是预料中的事,但这次审讯是政治犯的政治胜利。为我们遭遇的虐待作证,让我们压抑多年的怨气,得以宣泄。审讯结束几个星期后,政府修改条例,进一步缩减我们的伙食配额。

林清祥在签署一份声明之后,于19697月获得释放。

他精神抑郁症复发,必须由三个政治部人员全天监护,直到由一位政府的精神病科医生和一名政治部高官陪同,乘搭飞机飞往英国为止。我们获悉他的状况时,感到震惊,因为我们以为他在1966年已经痊愈了。然而,这事态的发展对政治犯的士气并没有太大影响。此时,我们对这种事情已经习以为常了。我们在很早以前就已经下定决心,不论是谁情绪低落,或因长期监禁而丧失斗志,每个政治犯都必须根据自己的良心行事。林清祥的声明让我们一些人意志更坚定,更重要的是要站稳立场、坚持狱中斗争,以揭露我们国家的不公正、缺乏民主权利和基本人权的现象。

 绝食斗争

行动党政权竭尽所能来消磨我们。我已讲过长期的单独监禁,大多数是囚禁在根本不适合人住的牢房,有些人还遭受殴打。恶劣的监狱伙食也低于国际标准,若不是家人给我们带来食物,我们早就营养不良了。1971年,我们在明月湾监狱展开长期的绝食斗争,要求之一是争取权益、更多自由,允许家人带食物给我们。绝食斗争是我们在狱中为原则问题而采取的集体行动。我参与的第一次绝食斗争是在1965年初,是为了抗议三个政治犯被带往中央警署拘留所时,遭受殴打。19676月,樟宜监狱的政治犯绝食一个星期,抗议日益恶化的监狱条件,抗议惩罚性虐待那些在《阵线报》编辑煽动案审讯期间出庭供证、揭露拘留条件的政治犯。只有在大家都一致同意的情况下,我们才展开这种备受身心煎熬的斗争。绝食斗争的正当性由生活委员会委员断定,如果他们确认,就会私下跟“E座”每一位政治犯交谈,征求他们的意见。19718月,当局要强迫政治犯像定罪的犯人一样从事体力劳动,美其名曰训导和职业培训,还购置价值昂贵的金属、木器和皮革加工机械设备。我告诉跟我说话的监狱长说,这做法是违反日内瓦公约关于对待政治犯的准则和原则;并告诉他,至少对我来说,认为我需要“重新培训”(re-tooled),以便日后出狱有谋生能力,真是荒唐,他们没有理会我们。我们听说他们每次只针对一个监狱分区下手,但是所有政治犯立场坚定。遇政治犯抗拒,就把他们关锁在牢房内,禁止阅读书刊和家属探访。绝食斗争持续一个月。

最后,当局试图强制他们到车间工作,一个个被抬去,一路上还遭拳打脚踢。政治犯拒绝碰触机械,后来又被抬回牢房关锁。

到了197112月底,我听说他们展开无限期绝食斗争。我们决定加入他们,表示团结,利用英共和联邦政府首脑会议将于1972年在新加坡举行的时机。政治犯家属举行记者招待会,外国记者也出席了。我们“E座”的政治犯绝食了三个星期后,监狱长终于表示不会强制我们参加体力劳动。在其他监狱分区的政治犯的绝食斗争持续长达三个月。每个监狱分区必须按各自的具体情况进行斗争。听说坚持持久绝食斗争的政治犯,被强行喂食,手段极其残忍和粗暴。让他们坐在椅子上,以手铐把双手反绑在椅背,一名狱卒踩在手铐上,拉扯政治犯头发,迫使他或她仰头,因为极其疼痛难忍,嘴巴张开,一条胶管便顺着喉咙插入,强灌牛奶。一个身材魁梧的守卫会坐在政治犯的身上,防止他或她挣扎。一名政治犯被强灌牛奶时,因牛奶进入肺部,引发吸入性肺炎,被送往中央医院留医,列入危急病症名单,他在医院仍坚持绝食。医生们向内安局提出警告,这样继续下去,这个人会死亡。结果当局决定无条件释放他,由于如果有人死在他们手中,将严重破坏政府的形象。另外一宗,一名女被拘留者被强喂食时,不论什么东西灌入喉管,她都会全部吐出。监狱长命令四名男狱卒把她抬起,用她的裙子拖抹满是呕吐污秽的地板。最后,监狱长不得不对政治犯做出让步,以便结束绝食。

欲加之罪,何患无辞?

1966年中期,吴庆瑞推介政府倡议成立“新加坡前政治扣留者协会”(“政协”)。他宣布,政府的政策就是,政治犯不悔过就不释放,政府决心不修改这项政策。这实际上是威胁我们,如果不悔过,就让我们在狱中度过余生。该协会显然是政治部一个分支,表面上协助前政治犯回归正常生活,事实上是要监视他们。除非参加“政协”,政治犯将不会获释。“悔过”是包括发表公开声明、上电视“自白”。

声明稿的内容要配合政府在不同阶段的宣传需要,社阵在1972年抗议美军对北越展开圣诞节轰炸,当时被释放的被拘留者就必须谴责社阵的抗议。在新、马分家之前,政治犯的声明就表示支持成立马来西亚;新、马分家之后,他们就必须支持新、马分家。

当他们找上我,要我上电视自白,我说他们是需要的是一名演员,而不是我。1971年初,内安局告诉我,他们有意把我的案子跟我弟弟林福坤的案子一并处理,我弟弟是在一年前被捕。他们把我们俩安置在政治部总部相对舒适的拘留所。我只需要代表我们俩发表一份声明,这是从我被捕以来,内安部第一次尝试认真讨论我的案子。他们说,争论已发生过的事情毫无意义。他们解释说,往前看,要解决我的案件有些棘手,由于在马来西亚问题上,已证明我的立场是正确的,如果我没有发表某种声明就被释放,李光耀就会“丢脸”,我当然认为这是个荒谬的建议。他们要我发表简单声明,主要包含两点:说我相信议会民主,并要我放弃政治活动。我指出,这样的声明是明显的自相矛盾的,人们会把我看成傻瓜,因为如果我相信议会民主,为何要我同意放弃政治活动呢?无论如何,我的活动记录清楚显示我在议会政治活动方面,一直扮演非常有效的角色,这恰是把我投入监牢、不让我发声的原因。我拒绝让他们任意扭曲事实。应当表明相信议会民主的,正是行动党的领导人,因为他们的所作所为,与议会民主背道而驰。后来,我又被送回明月湾监狱。

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。

我根本就不把他放在眼里,只有彻底蔑视这位东南亚的法西斯政权的大推销员,一个外国人竟然坐上审判席,由他来裁定像我这样的反对党领袖是否应当有权享有基本人权。我把这个人的造访以及利用他来瓦解新加坡政治反对派领袖的意志的做法,视为对我的政治权利的侮辱。

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。

我对他们说,以我的情况而言,逮捕和监禁我的理据是完全站不住脚的。欲加之罪,何患无辞?我决不轻易苟同拘禁我的正当性!

1977年初,我又被带回明月湾监狱,那里的境况变得更加恶劣了。1978年,我们发动抗议行动,在会见家属后拒绝回去牢房。结果,我们被拖上三段梯级,推进我们的牢房,二十四小时关在里面,长达一个星期。我弟弟被关在监狱炉房正上方的牢房,那里实在太热了,水泼洒在墙壁上马上就蒸发掉。不久后他中风了。

19791117日,我被转移到德光岛,并说我已被释放,但我坚称这只不过是另一座监狱。《海峡时报》记者在当天傍晚访问我,后来又有本国和外国记者陆续来访。我严正表示,这是当局导演的假释放,旨在平息国内外舆论对我国骇人听闻的缺乏人权和民主自由的议论。我个人认为,这种猜灯谜游戏只不过是为了迎合对人权课题表示关心的美国卡特政府。我也宣布,凡是要我悔过、放弃信仰,或者放弃信念,作为释放条件的一切要求,我将继续抗拒并拒绝接受。

我被限制在德光岛长达四年。到了1982年下半年,他们很认真的要“解决”我的案子。此刻,我遭监禁二十周年的日子,正在临近。

最后,他们要求我发表简单声明,答应两点:遵守释放的条件和专注于医疗事业。

为了历史如实纪录,必须指出,我事实上从未郑重表示遵守释放的条件。每当他们问我,获释后是否会遵守限制条件,我总是回答道:“受害者有得选择吗?”政府发布的声明,他们必须完全承担责任;那可不是我的声明。

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。

政治现实是,对任何表现有能力把反对派力量组织起来对抗政府的人,行动党政府是不会容忍他参加新加坡的政治活动的。行动党政府也不会容忍有效的反对党,更别说是替代政府。任何人不领会这一点,就是不懂得新加坡政治的入门学问。

我是在198296日被释放了,未经法庭审讯持续被监禁将近二十年。释放时,我是马来亚历史上坐牢最久的政治犯。

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