Monday, December 19, 2011

The Ballad of Chia Thye Poh (谢太宝之歌)


(Adapted by Kua Kia Soong from The H-Block Song, 18 December 2011)
Picture above: Dr. Kua Kia  Soong Sang a song and guitar accompaniment by musician Chow Kam Leong

“I am a proud yet simple man

In the lion city my life began

A caring teacher I became

In search of truth and peace -

And when my age was tender still

My country’s wrongs my mind did fill

By tens of thousands patriots’ trills

And my questions would not cease …

Chorus: Don’t shed no tears for my plight

             I’ll boldly serve my time

            Let Harry brand our noble fight

           Thirty two years of crime…

“I learned of many years of strife

Of cruel laws, injustice rife

I saw in Vietnam how they ruled

The same colonial way –

Protestors beaten, tortured, maimed

Divisions nurtured, passions flamed

Outraged, provoked, rights, cause defamed

This is the conqueror’s way…



“They locked me up in sixty six

On trumped up charges hard to stick

They tried to force me to confess

To all their made-up lies -

I stand for human dignity

For freedom, just democracy

I know that through those years deprived

My spirit will touch lives…”


Chia Thye Poh, 70, the longest-serving political prisoner in Asian history, was awarded the Lim Lian Geok (LLG) Spirit Award on 18 December 2011 by the LLG  Cultural Development Centre. The former Singapore Member of Parliament was detained for 32 years from 1966 to 1998 by Lee Kuan Yew’s government, a much longer term compared to Nelson Mandela’s 28 years of detention. The citation for the award read:

“… for upholding his belief in democracy, without compromising and never losing faith throughout the 32 years of unjust detention without trial.

In 1963, many activists in Singapore were arrested and detained.  Chia selflessly stood in for a detained candidate in the general elections and was elected Member of Parliament on a Socialist Front ticket. He was thus also a Malaysian member of parliament from 1963 to 1965 when Singapore was part of Malaysia.

A defender of the freedom of expression and justice, he was banned from entering Malaysia after he had delivered a speech at the Perak division of the Labour Party of Malaysia on 24th April 1966.

He was arrested under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) by the Singapore Government on Oct 29, 1966 which allows for indefinite detention without trial.  In May 1989, he was placed under house arrest in the island of Sentosa for nine more years.  After 32 years of incarceration, he was finally granted unconditional freedom on 27 November 1998.  Immediately after his restriction order was lifted, Chia issued a statement condemning the ISA.  Soon after, he went to Netherlands and completed his Master’s and PhD degrees at the Institute of Social Studies at The Hague.

Established in 1988, the Lim Lian Geok Spirit Award is the highest honour in the Malaysian Chinese community bestowed on those who live up to the spirit of Lim Lian Geok, the civil rights leader of Dong Jiao Zong in the fifties and sixties. His citizenship was revoked by the Alliance government in 1961 because of his opposition to the 1960 Rahman Talib Report that aimed to convert the Chinese secondary schools to national schools. Since his passing in 1985, Lim Lian Geok has been beatified as the “Soul of the Malaysian Chinese”.


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Wishing you a progressive new year!



作为活跃于柔佛州的为民主人权和民族尊严而奋斗的两个组织——柔佛州人民之友工委会与柔州兴权会(HINDRAF JOHORE)针对第13届大选,在去年底联合发表了一篇主题为“打破巫统霸权,建立民主联合阵线;团结全州人民,实现三大迫切诉求”的《告柔佛州人民书》;我们毫不犹疑,也毫不含糊主张“把国阵抛弃到历史的垃圾堆中去”。




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