Monday, 3 October 2011

Remember June 4. Remember ISA. Any lessons learned?

Wang Dan (王丹), one of the June 4 Incident (or June 4 Tian An Men Protest/Masscare) student leaders, has just established an institute on Oct 1, the national day of the People’s Republic of China

He named the Institute as New School for Democracy or Chinese Democratic Institution (华人民主书院 and the institute is registered in Hong Kong but is based in Taiwan.  In a celebration to mark the formation of the institute, no representatives of Chinese Nationalist Party (国民党) as well the Chinese Communists Party (中国共产党) were present. The absence of CCP is obvious and understandable but why the absence of Nationalists (whose party leader is the current President of Taiwan and the host country of the institute)? Perhaps, it is because the institute is supported by Democratic Progress Party and the exiled Tibet leaders.    
Since 1989, many overseas Chinese as well those in exiles from China have held memorial parades and anniversary to denounce the CCP.  However, the economic success of China has also created a controversy whether to continue attacking and criticising the way June 4 Incident was handled in 1989.

This is especially in the West when the West seems not able to handle their economic problems. So,
they don’t criticise China as much as before. The economic problems facing USA, Europe and Japan have down played the importance and significance of June 4.  But can we just let go and don’t remember June 4 anymore? What lessons have we learned from June 4?  Is Political stability the number one important issue for a country’s development?

June 4 and ISA

Besides Singapore and Malaysia, few overseas Chinese know about the ISA arrests in Singapore and Malaysia.  They cannot understand the ISA and its purposes. Some may even wonder whether ISA exists in these 2 countries.     

Comparing to June 4, our ISA incident is a smaller scale operation and incident.  However, these ISA arrests in the past are also important parts of our history.  Can we just forget about the ISA arrests and detentions?   What have we learned from the arrests and detentions without trial?

Yes, you may argue that because of the ISA arrests, Singapore has become more stable and we progress and achieve economic success.  Without the ISA, we may not achieve the status of first world country.  So, the ISA arrests are a price to pay for the country’s progress. And the government has every reason to justify the arrests.

Are June 4 and ISA arrests the victims and sacrifices of economic progress and development?  In any part of the history, in human development, in country advancement, there are some ones who will have to be scarified.  So, those victims of June 4 and ISA are the unlucky lots.  

I am in no position to say which is right and which is wrong? But we really need to learn from the mistakes. Likes the CCP, the PAP will say there is no mistake.  Howeverit is not an issue that the government can close the case by saying there is no necessity to have a commission of enquiry to investigate and justify the arrests.  The ISA issue will never close in such a way, just like the June 4 Incident.  It will still be remembered.

Remember June 4 and remember the ISA arrests are painful and pitiful.  Future historians may make a better judgment if humanity is being considered.   

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