Truth is far more powerful

Below is the conclusion of Dr Chee Soon Juan’s statement which he read out in court on 16 Mar 06 before sentence was passed.

The truth of the matter is that convicting and punishing me for contempt does not and cannot change reality, it cannot elevate the reputation of the Singapore courts. Its like the big bully punching out the little guy for calling him a bully.

Please don’t for one minute think that I am attacking you, sir. I respect you as a person and I hold have only the highest regard for your intellect.

But I cannot in good conscience continue to allow it to go unremarked when our judicial system is in such a dismal state. I am not foolish. I know the power that you wield. It is power backed by handcuffs, prison cells and, utimately, guns, the combination of which keep heads bowed and mouths shut. I don’t possess or have at my disposal such enormous power. I have only my freedom with which to wage this battle.

But I also have something that is far more powerful than all the physical force that you can muster – and that is, the truth. And if you realise the power that truth posseses you will see how lop-sided this contest is, and you will have the wisdom, I pray, to get on the right side. What you do to me today, the sentence that you will hand down, will be temporary.

But the infamy that you will have to live with will go down in the annals of Singapore’s history and that will last forever.

I plead not for leniency but for reform, that good and wise minds prevail in this room today.Speaking truth to undemocratic power is never easy for it invariably invites reprisal. I do not want to go to prison for I have have a lovely wife and three beautiful children wanting me to come home. Having to leave them under such circumstances is the most painful thing I have had to do. But living with the shame of keeping my head bowed when injustice permeates our society is infinitely worse.

I want to be free but freedom is nothing when one cannot speak the truth to power.

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