Last Saturday, the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Hall, reopened after a year of redevelopment, to widespread local media coverage. “The refurbished villa aims to re-create the ambience from a century ago, when the 20th century villa served as the home and headquarters of Dr Sun’s revolutionary activities in Southeast Asia,” according to a CNA report.
The reopening was a major event. DPM Teo (who is also the Minister for Home Affairs) was there. Not surprising, as the villa belonged to his great-grandfather who allowed Dr Sun to use it. Ex-minister George Yeo was also presnt.
It is a Hard Truth that Dr Sun was no pacificist revolutionary. Unlike Gandhi. he was prepared to use (and used) violence to overthrow the Manchus.
Now the government here takes a very hard-line against those that want to overthrow the existing order of things by way of violence or subversion. Why just a few days ago, on 29th September 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) took a strong stance against the calls of detainees, detained under the Internal Security Act, for their cases to be reviewed by an independent commission.
So for a minister responsible for security, and an ex-minister to grace an occasion honouring a dead revolutionary who advocated and used violence, looks like something from the satires of Jonathan Swift or Evelyn Waugh.
More ironical (and sad to boot), on the same day, there was an Internal Security Act forum that organised a video-link conference with two ex-ISD detainees who had fled S’pore and remained abroad.
Even more ironical (and sadder), the police on Sunday said it was investigating “the organisers of the forum on the Internal Security Act for arranging for a fugitive from justice, Mr Francis Seow, and a foreign national, Ms Tang Fong Har, to participate in a discussion on domestic politics.” Dr Sun Yat Sen must be rolling in his grave. He too was a fugitive from justice.
The government and the PAP PR machines must be wishing that they won’t be so unlucky next time there is a showcase event to promote the government or the PAP.