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The Lion of Anson October 1, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
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When Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyeratnam’s name was mentioned in the morning radio, I expected to hear news regarding the constitution application to call for a by-election. Imagine my shock when I heard that the “Lion of Anson” had passed away.

Mr Jeyeratnam’s passing leaves a void in Singapore; a void in this society where apathy and the dreaded “p” word pragmatism reign supreme. To the very end he stuck to his cause, braving “hatchets” from a powerful machinery, disdain and indifference from the very same people he fought for. It is sad that he passed on before his life’s task was achieved; joining historical luminaries like Zhuge Liang and Yue Fei (perhaps he is similar to Yue Fei who was knocked down by his own country). His dedication, courage, care for the littleman are all the more remarkable in a society where such traits are frowned upon unless they are utilised for purposes sanctioned by the powers that be. I only saw him once; at the MPH bookstore in Raffles City. If memory serves he was engaging in small talk with the cashier; something which most people rarely do, unless they want to complain.

Thus it is with disgust that I read the reports on Mr Jeyeratnam’s passing; more specifically I was peeved at the “condolence” letters, being of the opinion that such letters were more concerned with painting the ruling party in a better light; which is an irony given that most of Mr Jeyeratnam’s travails had their origins from the self same source. It is also with concern that Mr Jeyeratnam will be forgotten and marginalised by the machinery of the state and thus eventually by the people whose cause he championed and for which he sacrificed much. Indeed his life is a clear manifestation of the saying:” a prophet is never liked in his own country”. Nevertheless I hope that Mr Jeyeratnam’s contributions can be encapsulated within the new Media so that his life, ideals and struggle will not be drowned out by the self-congratulatory reports found in the Mainstream media. Yes the Lion of Anson has passed on; it is now up to those willing and able to ensure that his spirit lives on, and that his sacrifices will not be in vain.

*other bloggers have expressed their thoughts more eloquently here.

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Comments»

1. DP - October 2, 2008

Thanks Ned, the official machinery has already started the process of marginalising Sir JBJ’s contributions and sacrifices for the sake of the common Singaporeans.

Generations to come must realise that it was JBJ who planted the seeds of democracy which they will enjoy. Today, many of the issues he raised in paliament in the early days are being played out to the detriment of the common man. When he urged people not to give up their power, many refused to listen. Now, the people are paying the consequences so that the select few whom they surrendered power to are enriching themselves for serving the nation.
People need to know what is the meaning of scarifice, here is a man who has given up almost everything except his pride and honour fighting for the rights of the common man. While people demand millions to serve in the ivory tower, here is a man who stood in street corners to raise money, not to enrich himself but to make himself availble to serve the people. To me he was and almost will be a true leader, an honorable man, a man with the moral dignity unmatched by any other politicans in the present era.


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