We do not fear, our cause is just: Reflections of the Istana protest

Chee Siok Chin

Chee Siok ChinAn officer warned us that we were violating the Istana Order, whereby a gathering of two or more persons is considered an illegal gathering. We asked him where we should move to. He refused to answer.

Within minutes, I found myself being led away into a police van. Two policewomen held me. I asked them to loosen their grip as their grasp was hurting me.

As the van passed Plaza Singapura, a lady showed me ‘V’ sign to show her support. I waved back.

We were taken to Tanglin Police Station. I was held in a cell the size of a squash court. In a corner was a toilet, blocked from view by a low wall.

The eight hours that I was in the lock-up gave me time to rest my weary body as the past week’s activities at the Burma Embassy were beginning to take a toll on me.

I felt cold as I was still damp from having stood in the rain outside the Istana. I was hungry too but refused the meal they offered. The combination of cold, hunger and fatigue in a jail cell does something to one’s spirit.

I covered myself with a poncho-like sheet, curled myself in a sitting position against the wall and tried to take a nap. But the slamming of doors every few seconds made this impossible.

My thoughts wondered to Burma and what the people there are being subjected to. I thought about those who were being imprisoned indefinitely. I thought about the thousands who had been killed. I thought about the suffering of the victims of the cruel regime.

Then I thought about the Singapore Government’s role in the carnage in Burma. I remember the plea of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, “Please use your liberty to promote ours.” Even though I was not free, I was determined to do my part. I replied quietly to her, “I will.”

I have no doubt we will be found guilty of whatever charge the police is going to prefer on us. But in the meantime, I will stand firm and encouraged by Daw Suu and do whatever I can to help free the victims of the junta.

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