Chee not charismatic leader

March 21, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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21 March 2005

Dear SDP

I admit I have never been a great fan of your organization because I thought that you guys are all talk. But after reading the recent Sintercom article on the non-violence workshop SDP organized, I feel that I might have misjudged you guys too rashly and impulsively. You guys are actually not all talk but admirably have some action too. However, I am amused that Mr Moser-Puangsuwan found your leader uncharismatic! He does not seem confident about the SDP leadership it seems. The idea of a workshop is great but maybe next time SDP should enlist the help of people who respect SDP? Frankly, Mr Moser-Puangsuwan’s views have blunted the SDP image and sadly undermine the thrust of the workshop somewhat.

EDWIN CHAN

SDP: Dear Mr Edwin Chan,

Thank you for your email.

There has been much that the SDP has done to fight for the freedoms of Singaporeans. As you know, SDP has been calling on Singaporeans to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly. Dr Chee has in fact taken the lead in this regard by speaking in public in defiance of unjust laws restricting freedom of assembly in Singapore. The Singapore Democrats will continue to lead in this area.

Mr Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan is a respected non-violence action campaigner. Dr Chee is a firm believer in the philosophy of non-violence as practiced most notably by Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He has indicated that he would like to expand the idea more widely in Singapore and thinks that Mr Moser-Puangsuwan is an able exponent and practitioner of non-violence, and would therefore like to seek his assistance in this matter. Whether Mr Moser-Puangsuwan thinks that Dr Chee is a charismatic leader or not is irrelevant. The point is that Singaporeans need to know about the principles and methods of non-violent action and the process of education must be undertaken. In this regard, Dr Chee has indicated that he looks forward to working more closely with Mr Moser-Puangsuwan in the future.