Confessions of a Freedom Walker I: Making a “right” choice

Tan C P
14 Dec 06

As I eased my way through the Christmas shopping crowd in front of Borders to join the walk to commemorate Human Rights, I was surprised to see the German lass walking along with the activists.

The same young German lady I met at the start of the walk in Hong Lim Park.

“You actually walked with them from Hong Lim?” I queried. “Yes, why not?” she smiled. “Human Rights, it is something worth standing up for.” Despite the rather intimidating circumstances, with several plain-clothed officers swarming around us, video taping our every move; despite the impending fear, she persevered to complete the walk.

Diese Frau certainly put a lot of us to shame. Diese Frau, a foreigner, is actually bothered enough to stand for a common cause with strangers and this is not even her native country. Wow!

Our ensuing conversation revealed our common appreciation for and belief in democracy and socialism and the basic right to voice an opinion. We both are with the view that there are three kinds of opinions: You agree, You disagree or You keep quiet. But in actual fact, there are only two, because if you keep quiet, you are agreeing. Silence is consent.

As the saying goes, “a witness to a murder who chooses to remain quiet is as guilty as the murderer.”

I firmly believe that each individual should be respected for his or her views. Be it right or wrong, each individual is entitled to express it and to be heard. One should not be deprived of this basic right, nor should one be persecuted for it.

I made a choice to express my belief in exercising my basic rights. I walked with my fellow human rights advocates on the International Human Rights’ Day in Singapore. I chose not to remain silent.

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