1. 《1987 SINGAPORE MARXIST CONSPIRACY 30 YEARS ON》是由1987年在“光谱行动”被捕者为纪念被捕30周年而共同撰写和出版的。这本书于2017年5月21日正式出版发行；（中文译音为《1987新加坡的马克思阴谋30周年》 ）
The arrest of 16 people in the early hours of 21 May 1987 shocked the nation. Codenamed Operation Spectrum, the arrests were touted as a national security exercise and made under the Internal Security Act (ISA) even though not a single weapon or explosive was seized from any one of them. As if 16 arrests at dawn in one fell swoop were not sufficient to terrify the population, another six were detained a month later. These six had merely spoken out or campaigned against the first arrests.
The allegations against the detainees were bizarre. They were accused of having communist links 1 and later making use of lawful and registered organisations (both political and non-political), to further their aim of establishing a Marxist state. The government claimed that many of them had also made use of the Roman Catholic Church “to subvert the existing social and political system in Singapore, using communist united front tactics, with a view to establish a Marxist state.” Strangely, under continuous interrogations and torture, many of the detainees were ultimately forced to admit that they were unwittingly “made use of ” by friends. And even stranger was the subsequent revelation by the government that it was unhappy with the four Catholic priests and not those 16 arrested.
In the days, weeks and months following the arrests, the government was unexpectedly kept busy rebutting statements and claims of ill treatment of prisoners from human rights organisations, Church, government and individuals outside Singapore and the international media. Friends of the prisoners had immediately set up a network around the world to rebut the government’s allegations, testify to the good character of the prisoners and claim that they were subjected to physical and mental torture. Singapore embassies and offices of the Singapore Airlines were inundated with queries and protests. Congress of the United States, the Diet of Japan and the European Union were kept informed of the arrests. Singapore ambassadors and ministers were compelled to answer questions on the government’s treatment of the prisoners and the use of detention without trial which is contrary to the rule of law in civilised countries.
The prisoners were released in stages but not before they were forced to appear on television for rehearsed interviews. By the end of December 1987, all were released except Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan.
The ISA empowers the government to arrest and imprison people indefinitely and without any trial. History has shown that innocent people — students, university lecturers, medical doctors, journalists, lawyers and trade unionists had been imprisoned for years without trial. Several were detained for periods longer than life sentences. The government’s refusal to release Vincent Cheng in December 1987 therefore caused grave unease among those who were released. This, coupled with the government’s relentless accusations of wrongdoings and denial that the detainees were ill treated, led to the issue of a joint public statement.
Joint Statement and re-arrests
On 18 April 1988, nine released prisoners issued a statement rebutting the government’s allegations against them and confirming that they had suffered ill treatment. Eight of them were immediately re-arrested the next day. The ninth, Tang Fong Har who was in England, did not return to Singapore but embarked on a campaign to free her friends. She is today living in Hong Kong as a political exile.
The re-arrests in 1988 ended the hope of release for Vincent Cheng. It also led to the arrests of Francis Seow and Patrick Seong, two prominent lawyers who were acting for many of the prisoners. It seemed incredible that Singapore, a developed country could abuse lawyers so openly.
Left with the prospect of indefinite detention, several prisoners turned to the Supreme Court for relief. The court failed them. Its half-hearted judgment in December 1988 may have given hope to future generations of Singaporeans but it dealt a hefty blow on the prisoners. They were ordered to be released on a technical ground but were promptly re-arrested. They had to commence legal proceedings all over again.
By June 1990, everyone, including Vincent Cheng was released. They were all subjected to severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, assembly, free speech and expression for many years.
Picking up the pieces
The released prisoners went about their lives quietly for two decades. Except for a few, they returned to the professions before their arrests. Vincent Cheng was the hardest hit. He lost his job as the executive secretary of the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission which was shut down soon after the arrests in May 1987. Luckily his resourcefulness and intelligence led him to embark on a new career as a natural health care practitioner. Reflexolog y, a skill he acquired from books while he was in prison became handy.
Several of those released left Singapore for work or further education, at least for several years if not for good. Those who remain, made good the years they lost in prison. More importantly, they kept in touch with one another. They occasionally remember the anniversaries of 21 May 1987. They got together with friends and relatives on several of these anniversaries for meals, renewed their friendship and sang a song or two for old times’ sake. On the 10th anniversary, friends and relatives came together for lunch at The Vines in Thomson Road. A small booklet of letters from prison was distributed to those who attended. Busy with work, the 15th anniversary was forgotten. When the 20th anniversary (2007) approached, several of the former prisoners decided to discuss and reflect on what happened in 1987. They invited the alleged leader of the conspiracy, Tan Wah Piow and a few concerned friends to a weekend retreat in Johor. It was a private gathering to trash out 1987 and exchange experiences. For the first time, a soul-searching discussion and analysis took place.
In May 2009, several young Singaporeans held a protest calling for the abolition of the ISA at Hong Lim Park. It was the 22nd year of 21 May 1987. Remembering 22 Singapore Victims of ISA was attended by several former detainees. They quietly observed the protest. The young people knew who they were but did not speak to them. It was good to see them organise the event.
That protest had a great impact on the ISA survivors. They realised that Singaporeans were curious about the past and it was perhaps time for them to tell their story.
The following year, Function 8 was incorporated as a social enterprise and Teo Soh Lung’s prison memoir, Beyond the Blue Gate was published.
In 2012, Function 8 in collaboration with MARUAH, a human rights organisation, Commemorated the 25th anniversary of Operation Spectrum at Hong Lim Park. They put up an exhibition of various objects, artworks and constructed mock prison cells and interrogation room to give the public an idea of what it is like to be in prison. The event was called That We May Dream Again, Remembering the 1987 ‘Marxist Conspiracy’.
In March 2015, Roman Catholic Archbishop William Goh in his address to a “crowd of 5000 Catholics, including 40 priests” at a special mass for former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, referred to the arrest of 22 people in 1987 as a “dark period” in the Church’s history. He was also reported as having said:
“I think it is important for us to move on and to forgive, and most of all
to continue to build the country. There’s no point to go back to the past,
trying to lick our wounds because it will not help in nation building…
And as Christians all the more we should forgive and forget…”
The archbishop is wrong to advise that it is pointless to go back to the past. It is not helpful to add that to go back to the past is to “lick our wounds”.
To this day, the Catholic Church has not made any attempt to investigate the truth about the government’s serious allegations against her church workers, volunteers and priests. Will silence and inaction light up the “dark period” in the Church’s history? Will this “dark period” go away if the Church does nothing ? Will the ghost of the past live to haunt us?
While we do not deny that the Church was also a victim of state violence in 1987, when Archbishop Gregory Yong, not being a politician, succumbed under pressure at the Istana, she can emulate the example set by Bishop Desmond Tutu who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa in the 1990s. As we wait for the Church to take steps to be reconciled with the Catholic victims of Operation Spectrum, we are exceedingly grateful for the essays of Fr Patrick Goh and Edgar D’Souza. Their stories shed much light on the exemplary role of the Church before Operation Spectrum, which regrettably earned the displeasure of the authorities and met the full force of their suppression.
Operation Spectrum was a clumsy but successful attack on a re-emerging civil society. It was a multi-pronged attack that wiped out student activism, destroyed or crippled several legitimate organisations and one professional body —The Law
Society of Singapore.
It is our hope that with this publication, Singaporeans will know what actually happened in 1987 and decide for themselves if there was a national security threat that necessitated the mounting of Operation Spectrum and the arrest of 22 people and two of their lawyers.
Teo Soh Lung
1. The Straits Times , 22 May 1987
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j604lzFjFDY —Remembering 22 Singapore Victims of ISA, accessed on 21 March 2017
3.http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/archbishop-goh-mr-lee-kuan-yew-did-what-he-thought-was-best-for-the-country, accessed on 21 Mar
1987年凌晨逮捕16人的消息传开，举国为之震惊。以“光谱行动”（Operation Spectrum）为代号，援引内部安全法令（Internal Security Act, ISA）进行的大逮捕，宣称是一项维护国家安全的举措。尽管如此，在行动中却没有搜获任何武器与炸药。破晓时分一举拿下16人，仿佛这还不足以震慑国人，一个月后另有六人落网。这六人遭难，只不过因为公开发言反对第一次逮捕或参与营救被捕者的运动。
官方分批释放了被扣者，但释放的条件是被扣者必须同意先上电视，接受事前彩排好的所谓访问。截至1987年12月底，除了钟金全（Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan），所有其他人都获释了。
1988年4月18日，九名已获释的囚徒发表声明，驳斥政府对他们的指控，并确认他们曾经受到虐待。其中八人在隔天即被重新逮捕。第九名，邓凤霞（Tang Fong Har），因为当时人在英国所以逃脱。她没有回到新加坡来，选择留在国外从事营救友人的运动。目前她以政治流亡者的身分在香港居住。
获释的囚徒们，在下来二十年里默默地过日子。除了少数例外，他们回返被捕前的专业。钟金全是受打击最大的一个。他原来是大主教管区正义与和平委员会（Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission）的行政秘书，该委员会在他被捕不久后于1987年5月关闭，他的工作于是没了。幸亏他有广泛的联系与智慧，藉此转轨成为一名天然保健护理师。他在狱中从书上自习反射疗法（reflexology），这时正好投入应用。
有些人在获释后离开新加坡，到外国去工作或进修，好或不好，如此过了数年。留在本地的，设法弥补在牢里丢失的岁月。更重要的一点也许是，他们相互保持着联系。遇到1987年5月21日的周年时，偶尔有人会记起。在某些周年来临时，他们和朋友、家人聚餐，重续友谊，唱几首歌缅怀旧时情境。十周年那天，他们和朋友、亲人一起在汤申路的攀藤餐馆（The Vines）吃午餐，并现场向出席者分发一本收集他们若干狱中家书的小册子。大家都忙于工作，十五周年被遗忘了。在二十周年（2007年）来临前，几名前被扣者决定要针对1987年发生的事进行讨论与回忆。他们邀请了被指控为阴谋领导人的陈华彪（Tan Wah Piow），以及数名关心此事的朋友，到柔佛的某一个度假屋去过周末。这是个为了厘清1987年事由及交换相关经验的私人集会。这是首次，他们就此进行了触动心灵的深入讨论与分析。
2009年5月，数名年轻的新加坡人在芳林公园举行抗议集会，要求废除内部安全法令。这恰是1987年5月21日的第二十二周年。若干名前被扣者出席了这个取名为“不忘22名新加坡内安法受害人”（Remembering 22 Singapore Victims of ISA）的集会。他们默默观察这场抗议集会。年轻人知道他们是什么人，但没有和他们交谈。看见有人组织这样的集会真好。
下来一年，“第八功能”（Function 8）以社会企业的性质注册成立，张素兰的狱中回忆录《在蓝色栅门的后面》（Beyond the Blue Gate）出版。
2012年，“第八功能”联合人权组织“尊严”（MARUAH），在芳林公园举办集会，纪念“光谱行动”25周年。他们在现场展览了一些物件与艺术品，仿造了牢房和审讯室，向公众展示牢狱生涯是怎么回事。那次集会取名为“我们有日也许重返梦想，纪念1987年所谓的‘马克思主义阴谋’”（That We May Dream Again, Remembering the 1987‘Marxist Conspiracy’）。
1987年的国家暴力，天主教会也是受害的一方，当非政治人物的大主教Gregory Yong在总统府向压力屈服时，他原可效法1990年代在南非领导“真相与和解委员会”（Truth and Reconciliation Commission）的图图主教（Bishop Desmond Tutu）的榜样。
当我们在等候教会采取行动与“光谱行动”天主教受害人达成和解时，我们对Patrick Goh和Edgar D’Souza两位神父的文章表示激赏。他们讲述的故事真实反映了天主教会在“光谱行动”前所扮演的角色与风范。遗憾的是，这样的典范惹恼了当权者，横遭当权者的粗暴镇压。
“光谱行动”是对公民社会重新崛起的一次笨拙但成功的攻击。这是个多层次的攻击，清除了我们学生运动的参与者，摧毁或削弱了若干合法团体的生气，其中包括一个专业组织——新加坡律师公会（The Law Society of Singapore）。