In memory of a hero…

Posted: October 2, 2008 in Rants
Tags: , , , , ,

It’s been 2 days since a patriot of Singapore died. Rest in peace JBJ.

We were told that we need to pay millions of dollars every year for each of our leaders in order to ensure that the best people are always in power. You proved them wrong. You gave up your cushy government job and your money only to be insulted and treated with disdain. In my eyes you were more qualified than any other to be our leader.

Thanks for everything.



Being in the opposition in Singapore all these years has cost you dearly and you even had to sell off your properties. Any regrets?

I did not have many properties but I had to sell a bungalow in a very fashionable area in Singapore to pay the judgement obtained by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. Having sold that, three years later I bought a small apartment, and then I had to sell that too. All in, I had easily about 12 to 13 suits to pay off. Some people say I was a fool. All I can say is I do not regret it because, to me, life is not all about making money and acquiring wealth. Life is doing something for the people around you.

Source: The Star

  1. JBJ – A man of honour and integrity.
    Today Sinaporeans will bid farewell to an iconic symbol of a fighting spirit that had stood up for democracy and human rights, paying every price that was extracted from him!
    We were saddensed to learn of JB Jeyaretnam’s demise in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday, 30 September 2008. JBJ, as he was fondly referred to, succumbed to a heart attack bringing to an end a life that reflected an indomitable spirit and a formidable fortitude that helped him to stay the course,
    He gave up what could have been a successful career on the bench to enter the rough-and-tumble of Singapore’s political life with zeal and energy.. Right to the end he remained a fighter, a great warrior for democracy and human rights. He embodied valour and virtue in fighting for a cause he believed in passionately.
    He stood proudly and bravely with the ordinary men championing their cause and on many occasions representing their interest without payment. He was there for them – all the time.
    The picture that remains in my mind goes back to 27 years ago towards the end of 1981 when he won the Anson by-election. The Anson seat was vacated by C V Devan Nair who subsequently went on to become the President of Singapore. That history-making victory broke the stranglehold of the PAP on Singapore’s politics.
    When the results were announced that night, a visibly emotional JBJ hugged his son and whispered, “We did it, son.” It was a poignant moment that he would have very much wanted to share with his wife, Margaret. Unfortunately she passed away the previous year without being part of the victory though she she had been very much part of his struggle.
    He was a consummate politician who had to go through so many political hurdles during the many years when he waged a long and lonely battle against the PAP to secure the space for democracy and human rights. The mighty PAP gave him one hell of a struggle. They bankrupted him with many defamation suits which they won with hefty awards crippling him financially.

    He lost his property, he lost his legal practice and he lost his wealth. But he never lost his sanity or his fighting spirit. That was the measure of this great man.
    All he had was his unbending will and a determination to stand up for what he believed in. Any lesser man would have thrown in the towel – but not JBJ!
    He peddled his party organ, The Hammer, and his books on street corners to raise funds to free himself from bankruptcy. Many, out of fear, avoided him on the streets. Even the bookshops dared not stock his books for sale. It was such a pity that he had to struggle against all odds and all alone.
    We are happy that he finally cleared himself from bankruptcy in July 2007 – in spite of strenuous opposition to block him – and died as an honourable man.
    When he launched his new party, the Reform Party, in July 2008, he remarked, “I’m not being dramatic but I haven’t got many more years.” Little did he know that he barely had three months of his life left!

    In his concluding remarks, he urged the gathering, “Come, walk with me, let us walk together… for peace, justice, truth… fearing no one except God,”
    We may not be able to walk with him but we can certainly walk in his path and keep his spirit alive.
    Farewell, JBJ. May your great soul rest in peace.

    P Ramakrishna
    4 October 2008

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