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Stop kicking the Ravi football
Stop kicking the Ravi football
Added on: Tuesday 24 July 2012
Total comments: 4
Human rights lawyer, Mr M Ravi, is a
respected friend of the SDP. He has an accomplished legal mind and a
heart of gold. His determination to do what is right has cost him
much, both in personal terms and in his career. Unfortunately, he is
also afflicted with bipolar disorder.
It is no exaggeration to say that the
Government's decision to review the death penalty is a result of
Ravi's unflagging determination to save the lives of those on death
It was not only his legal submissions in court but also his
garnering of international opinion against the senseless execution,
especially of small-time drug mules, that has made the Government
stop and reflect on its actions.
Few know that Ravi travelled across
Europe, the UK, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, Malaysia and the UN (most
of the time at his own expense) to publicise the unreasonableness of
the mandatory death penalty law – at a time when few cared.
In a country where few lawyers would
argue cases that challenged the Government's position – including
acting for the SDP's activists prosecuted for exercising our freedoms
of speech and assembly – Ravi came forward. He did not do this for
money because none of us could afford to pay him. He did it because
he could not keep silent when injustice swirled all around.
But sometimes Ravi has relapses of his
disorder. And when he does, he is not the same Ravi that we know.
Indeed, it is difficult to be around Ravi when he is in one of his
manic episodes. His behaviour is bizarre and his speech erratic,
sometimes highly so. Those around him are often the target of abuse.
However, when Ravi is not experiencing
the onslaught of this mental disorder, he is a very different person.
He is competent, endearing, and dedicated.
But let us recognise this: Ravi's
condition is a medical one. And when he falls ill, just as all of us
do from time to time, he needs medical treatment and rest.
At such times, let his friends and
supporters not turn his distress into a political event. Those who
recommend Ravi's absence from court for him to seek treatment may not
necessarily be wishing him ill and those who are treating him are not
Let us also not defend or even praise
Ravi's inappropriate behaviour when he is undergoing a manic episode and use him as a political football. Rather, let us treat him
as we would treat a brother.
On the other hand, Ravi's detractors,
no matter how much you may disagree with his legal views and actions,
should not ridicule him for his behaviour and poke fun at his medical
condition. There is no honour in attacking
a man when he is at his most vulnerable.
Do we laugh at a cancer patient who
looks strange because he lost all his hair after undergoing therapy?
Do we mock the elderly for soiling their garments because they are
incontinent? Do we ridicule the autistic child whose utterances and
physical movement we may find odd?
As they say in football parlance: Play
the ball, not the man.
What Ravi – and, for that matter,
anyone who is similarly afflicted – needs is medical attention and
the sooner he receives it, the better it is for him and for our
community. With a strong and supportive social network, Ravi can
function and contribute positively to Singapore, as he has all these
Let us give him the space that he needs
while he is going through a difficult period: keep the cameras away
and the interviews at bay. Let us get him back on his feet again so
that he can be the Ravi that we have all come to know and respect.
And yes, love.
Note: Ravi has been admitted to a hospital. [Update: Ravi has been discharged from the hospital.]
|Total comments: 4|
sarah (24 July 2012 4:30 PM)
Thanks for this post, Vincent. Those of us who know Ravi are still friends with him because we understand him and understand what he is going through. Your post will help people evaluate their own prejudices. Thanks again.
DF (24 July 2012 1:41 PM)
Le'ts support Ravi and the likes; even if they just ordinary people. We are fellow humans and fellow sporeans, Remember our pledge.
Willy (24 July 2012 12:59 PM)
is he? there are claims disputing that. please verify.
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