SDP protests Gough Whitlam’s remarks about Singapore

November 24, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Mr Gough Whitlam
Former Prime Minister
Australia

Your Excellency,

The Singapore Democratic Party takes strong umbrage at your characterisation of our country as a “rogue Chinese port city”.

In the first place, Singapore is a nation and not just a “port city”. We may not be a democratic nation but a nation we are nonetheless. To use language that does not recognise this fact is disrespectful to the people of Singapore.

Second, Singapore is not “Chinese”. Our population is made up of various ethnic groups including Chinese, Malays, Indians, Eurasians, and smaller communities of various ethnicities. We call ourselves Singaporeans, not Chinese.

We understand the angst that you and your fellow Australians feel over the hanging of Nguyen Van Tuong. There are many Singaporeans who disagree with our government and who are also working very hard and praying that Nguyen Van Tuong will not be executed. Describing our country in such a derogatory manner in this dispute is distinctly unhelpful. It is just as bad as our Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew calling Australia the “white trash of Asia”.

We hope that you will refrain from making such inflammatory remarks and focus on helping Nguyen Van Tuong at this dark hour, and to help find an alternative to the mandatory execution for small-time drug peddlers in Singapore.

Sincerely,

Chee Soon Juan

Secretary-General

Singapore Democratic Party

NB: This letter has been sent to the Australian High Commission in Singapore with a request for it to be forwarded to Mr Gough Whitlam. We also ask Australians and the Australian media reading this letter to help us deliver it to Mr Whitlam or, alternatively, to give us his address and contact. Thank you.