Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tribute to Mr. J B Jeyaretnam

Someone sent an e-mail to me, giving this tribute to Mr. J B Jeyaretnam. I only know Mr. Jeyaretnam briefly - but enough for me to admire what he has done for Singapore.

As a kid who hungrily devoured all that the flat media supplied at the time, and ignorant of their propagandistic nature, I thought JBJ had dishonourable intentions - a fool who was always exposed by his powerful nemesis. It took several years before I realised that I was the fool.
By then, I was rooting for his entry into parliament and it was with great joy that I read the headlines "JBJ takes Anson". It was a historic breakthrough not appropriately celebrated by the media. JBJ had achieved the unthinkable!

Once whilst walking down the stairs of the Subordinate Courts to the taxi stand, I noticed that the drivers in the waiting taxis had suddenly almost in synchrony gotten out of their vehicles, shouting and waving greetings towards my direction. I turned my head to see none other than JBJ waving back at them with a big warm smile pasted on his face.

I witnessed how when he reached the taxi stand, all the drivers rushed to shake his hand, many thanking him for his work. It was a genuine and uncontrived demonstration of true admiration and warm respect; quite unlike - in fact in contrast to - the kind shown by members of certain residents' committees towards their elected leaders. I knew then that I was in the presence of a true people's leader.

The first-time when I had the privilege of witnessing first-hand in open court the mesmerising tone of his voice and the fearless manner he fought, it left me in no doubt that standing before me was an extraordinary man of upright constitution. If you had also noticed his poorly-pressed suit and unpolished worn-out brown leather shoes, you would have fathomed the real depth of this man who must have found preening himself just to look good an utterly waste of bloody time!

JBJ was the man amongst men.

Nothing I have said and can say would do justice to the real quality of this man. Today is a very sad day for his family and friends. But, as a country, it was already a very sad day when we allowed him to be mistreated and tormented by his nemesis. We stood by and did nothing.
Knowing JBJ, he has forgiven us. But can we forgive ourselves?



Anonymous said...

A broken man died with broken dreams;
his burning hope is who will continue his legacy.

A pauper died with no money;
but whose dreams are worth far more than galaxies.

Anonymous said...

A truly great and fearless man who stood by his priciples. His passing is a great loss to Singapore.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You were a fool then, but now you have woken up. There are still many out there who are still acting like fools, and have no qualms to bury their conscience. A good example is the fool who ask me to shut up and said I am not an investor and am pathetic guy just because he is worried that if we do not patronise and say good things about MAS then MAS will not help investors who lost their money. These are the kind of fools who voted not based on their beliefs and conscience but because they wanted their flats to get free upgrading and so that they can hold on to their cushy jobs. These fools do not even realise that however they vote, their jobs are not going to be affected. Yet they are afraid of this and afraid of that and finally when they lose money they are still trying to bootlick for a false hope.
In contrast, Mr. JB Jeyeratnam is a giant among men who gave his life fighting for the workers like the taxi drivers mentioned, who shook his hands warmly but when came to the voting booth, decided they do not want to risk it. Now that is pathetic!!!

Anonymous said...

He was a great fighter in local politics.


Anonymous said...

Yes, We have truely lost a good man.
I still have vivid memory of him standing at the City hall MRT selling his book. At his status, i really admire his down to earth attitude. He has always put a smile and nodded his head amongst the walking crowds.

It is sad that he is gone.

Just for information, my journalist friend told me not to take what paper has reported about him. He said that paper is always pro government and we must have the intelligent to decipher it. Unfortunately, many told the face value of the report and start to judge without factual.

I think this world is just a pack of lies.....

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir JBJ,
In the Sea of Political Darkness,
You're the Only True Source of Light.
We'll miss you.

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