In Solidarity with Alan Shadrake
June 2, 2011, 1:32 am
Filed under: By Rachel Zeng, Singapore

Credits: Reuters, 30th July

Alan Shadrake is not someone who can be cowed. He is an amazing fighter and he stands up for what he has written, even though he it results in him doing time in Changi Prison as the contents in his book were found to be in contempt of court.

I remember the first time we communicated. It was about matters relating to organising the launch of Once a Jolly Hangman in Singapore last year. That was the first time I am organising an event almost on my own and I was really nervous about it. Alan was very friendly and assuring. He even shared with me some of the adventures he had gone through in his life.

Through those emails, I became more confident about one thing – Alan is not a faint hearted person who will buckle up and run at the sight of trouble.

After getting wind of the fact that one of the reporters from SPH informed the statuary boards about the book launch which resulted in MDA buying copies of the book off the shelves of Kinokuniya and restricting the sales of the book thereafter, we began to talk about alternative ways to launch the book. In the end, we decided to let it go ahead as planned.Books were brought to the tables only after The Straits Times published an article saying that MDA has not banned the book. I was ready to turn away the authorities should they show up, as the launch was a private affair, with entry allowed only by invitation.

However no one showed up to stop the event.

After the event, some of us took Alan out for supper. We were all very happy with the success of the event.

The next day, I received a call from the publisher in KL asking for a confirmation as to whether Alan was arrested. We then began to investigate on the matter immediately. We called his mobile, tried contacting his friends and M Ravi found out that he was taken to Cantonment Police HQ. Thus began his ordeal which had lasted for 10 months. I saw myself suddenly taking the role of the position of being the central contact from the international NGOs and media.

For the past 10 months, we have walked the road with Alan. We saw how he suffered in health, we saw how certain circumstances have stressed him up, but he has never showed any signs of giving up. He fought, right to the very end of his trial, and is fighting still.

On Wednesday morning, the day he surrendered himself to the court, Ravi informed me that Alan was being handcuffed. I was angry. Alan is not a dangerous criminal, he has no weapons on him at all so why should he be handcuffed? But I know that Alan will never be humiliated by this Alan is a brave fighter, and he will always remain so.

My personal note to Alan:

Alan, thank you for showing your determination to stand up for the truth. Although you are being imprisoned for what you have written, the whole world is reading your book.

You are not a criminal in the eyes of many, but those who have criminalised you for your book are being ridiculed right now – locally and internationally.

You have my solidarity, friendship and support. It is an honour knowing you, working with you and learning from you. May we meet again… well yes I know we will!


4 Comments so far
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If Alan Shadrake had stood up for the Internal Security Act he would probably get more solidarity, friendship and support from Singaporean. He, instead, is going against the “Hangman” for putting away drug traffickers who ruin the lives of the young and families, the fire-armed robbers and the murderers.

This is why you can safely go out at 2am in the early morning without getting mug.

Comment by bekko

Hello Bekko,

Sorry to disappoint you that in this country, whatever causes one decides to act upon, so long as it has to do with human rights and going “against the government/ existing legislation”, the sort of support will be the same.

By the way, traffickers do not push drugs. Their existence is due to the demands on drugs, caused by the addicts, among other factors such as family financial background or ignorance of substances and the law. The addicts are addicts because they have made a choice to be so. Some of them do so because they did not anticipate the addiction, so who do you blame here, the educational system? Hang the educators then, why not?

Strange how all the blame shifts onto the shoulders of the drug mules. How can you be sure that they do know about what they were carrying? How can you be sure that the drugs in their bags belonged to them? How can you be sure that the investigation procedure and the judgement is fair? MDP is never fair. Do you know that the mastermind never gets hanged? Do you know that sometimes the mastermind never gets arrested even after the drug mules gave the police the info? Do you know that even if they are caught, they are only subjected to detention without trial for a renewable 5 years under Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act while the young people they make use of to handle their dirty jobs die on the noose?

And how do you know that lives of drug addicts get ruined? Some of them are living it up as executives, sons and daughters of elites etc. They are successful and educated people who will always have their regular supply of cocaine and heroin stashed somewhere. They are the ones who are bringing the demands of drugs in this country up.

As for murderers, if you are so against murdering someone, why do you seek to murder murderers?

As for people who have committed acts of torture and kidnap… well, can we put those who were involved in the arrest and torture of political detainees in 1963 and 1987 on trial and hang them for being involved in torturing those political detainees?

I can go on and on but you know, this is crazy. To me, the death penalty is just wrong and I have written about it in my previous posts. Of course I do respect the fact that the opinions of others might differ from mine but I prefer hearing objective reasons and objective criticisms instead of one liners that echos the mere propaganda of the government and nothing more.

Comment by rachelabsinthe

[…] June 2, 2011: In solidarity with Alan Shadrake […]

Pingback by Author of death penalty book arrested by Singapore police day after book launch « Jacob 69er

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