Those Who Dare (2006)


Those Who Dare: Voices of Asia’s Democrats

Publisher: Alliance for Reform and Democracy in Asia (ARDA)
304 pp
Available from: ARDA

A book about Asia’s democracy by Asia’s democrats. Those Who Dare is an amazing collection of personal accounts by Asia’s leading democracy advocates.

Never before have Asian democracy luminaries like Anwar Ibrahim, Martin Lee, Thich Quang Do, and others come together in such a historic manner to voice their hopes for a free and democratic Asia. The book is also a remarkable documentation of the personal struggles by the authors including imprisonment, exile, beatings and torture.

Those who wish to know more about a region that increasingly demands attention, politically and economically, this book is a must-read.

This limited, hard-cover edition of 200 copies is available to selected readers at only USD50.


Anwar Ibrahim writes the foreword to the book. He was the former deputy prime minister of Malaysia until his sacking by Mahathir Mohamed. He spent six years in prison and is now the beacon for human rights in Malaysia.

Sarwar Bari, a leading human rights advocate in Pakistan was sentenced to 14 years in prison for treason by the Ziaul Haq regime. Bari lived in exile for eight years before his founding of Pakistan’s largest relief and human rights organization, Pattan.

Chee Soon Juan, a leading political opponent of Lee Kuan Yew’s regime, has served no less than five imprisonment terms for championing free speech in Singapore. He has been made a bankrupt in a series of defamation suits involving Lee Kuan Yew and is banned from traveling overseas.

Tian Chua is the current information chief of the Keadilan Party in Malaysia which is headed by the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail. Chua was detained without trial for two years in 2001 for his role in a rally to mark Anwar’s first anniversary in jail. He is the country’s leading labour and human rights activist.

Martin Lee is Hong Kong government’s most vociferous critic. Winner of numerous democracy and human rights awards, Lee is an icon for the voice of freedom against China’s policy for the island. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1979, and was the chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association from 1980 to 1983.He has been a Legislative Council member since 1985.

Loretta Ann P Rosales is a member of Senate in the Philippines. Arrested twice for her political and social work under the Marcos regime, Rosales was tortured by the republic’s Intelligence Services. She founded AKBAYAN, a pluralistic and democratic political party in 1995 and is serving her last term as a senator in the 13th Congress.

Shih Ming-teh is Taiwan’s longest serving political prisoner. Sometimes called the the Nelson Mandela of Asia, Shih suffered severe beatings in jail and went on a four-year hunger strike to protest against the KMT during Taiwan’s martial law. He has emerged as one of the pioneers of democracy in Taiwan.

Thich Quang Do, a Buddhist monk and one of Vietnam’s most famous dissidents was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2000. He was first imprisoned in 1963 for protesting against a ban on Buddhist flags and was was subjected to brutal torture whilst he was in jail.Although released from prison, Thich Quang Do presently lives under close surveillance by Vietnam’s communist government.

Wang Dan was once China’s most wanted man for his role in the Tiananmen Protest. Arrested in 1989, Wang spent four months in solitary confinement. Following his release in1993, he was repeatedly detained by the Chinese authorities. In 1995,Wang Dan was detained for 17 months without charge. He currently lives in exile in the United States.

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