Monday, 19 January 2015

The unfathomable Lysa Hong

This is yet another unfathomable response from a known 'revisionist' historian. It is quite an unusual response from an academic who is supposed to be objective, detached and impartial. The name calling and emotional outbursts aside, she has at least conceded that Lim Chin Siong did work with the Communists after refusing to admit even this for a long time. 

She is also quite mistaken in a number of areas.She claimed that all the communists cadres (over 50) had been withdrawn before Op Coldstor. She is plainly wrong. 

First, any historian who has read Lee Ting Hui and Chin Peng's memoirs would know that there were more than 50 communist cadres in Singapore. Second, while some were withdrawn, many were left in place as affirmed by Chin Peng. Some were not even arrested during Op Coldstore eg Chan Sun Wing and Wong Soon Fong who were Barisan Assemblymen during Op Coldstore; both later absconded and appeared at the CPM jungle camp at the Thai-Malaysia border. It is quite puzzling how Hong allowed herself to be blinded by her prejudices.

Hong parroted Moore's statement that there was no instruction from CPM, Beijing or Moscow to Lim Chin Siong, and that Lim acted independently. But she contradicts hereself later when she concedes that it can be assumed that Lim was working "surreptitiously" with the communists. The CPM historiography is full of examples of instructions from Beijing and even Moscow to its operatives in Singapore and Malaya, starting from its formation in 1930. 

This is evident from CPM's various policy statements, directives and actions. Chin Peng had even revealed frankly that nothing could move without China's consent! Chin Peng, Eu Chooi Yip and the Plen all conspired to oppose merger and this was communicated down the line. The formation of Barisan itself was also at the CPM's behest! 

Picture from Chin Peng: My side of history

Furthermore, Singapore's former president and erstwhile communist, Devan Nair, said in his oral interview that he was introduced to Lim through Samad Ismail, a known CPM member since 1949, as someone who was "getting his guidance from South Johor". "Nair, who used to spend his evenings and nights at Lim's Middle Road union headquarters, remembered occasions when "somebody from the underground who is not know to the police" arriving to pass Lim a note. "And Chin Siong would read it and straight away burn it.""

Love him or hate him, when Lee Kuan Yew challenged Lim Chin Siong to take him to court for libel and forgery in 1962, after Lee accused Lim of being a Malayan communist, Lim choose not to. Why not? No one knows for sure. But it made his case weaker in the ensuing months when Lim was arrested under Op Coldstore for being a communist threat.  

Hong appears to have thrown caution to the winds, and along with it her academic independence and objectivity. She continues to ignore, dismiss or suppress hard evidence so as to be able to insist that Op Coldstore had no security basis whatsoever. Why she continues to do so is unfathomable.   

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Former detainee: I bought medicine from Dr Poh for CPM

September 7, 1976

by A Ramalingam and Philip Lee

An ex-political detainee, Wang Kui Inn, 27, yesterday described how she bought Western medicine from Dr. Poh Soo Kai and took it to the Betong-Raub area for the Sixth Assault Unit of the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM).

Wang, wife of another ex-detainee, Pang Hee Fatt, went to Dr. Poh'c clinic in Balastier Road on three occasions between January 1974 and early this year to buy medicine, Dr Poh only accepted money for the medicine after she pressed it on him.

Dr. Poh was re-arrested on June 4 this year. This was the second arrest under the Internal Security Act. He was first arrested in February 1963 and released in December 1973.

Wang said that in January and February 1974, a woman by the name of Siong Pek gave her a list of Chinese and Western medicine and $300 in cash.

Siong Pek told her that the medicine was for the Malayan National Liberation Army (MNLA).

"As Siong Pek was my good friend and as this was also to serve the MNLA, I went to the Rakyat Clinic at Balastier Road about two days later and asked Dr. Poh to help in purchasing the medicine," she said.

"When Dr. Poh asked me why I wanted these medicine, I told Dr. Poh that the medicine was wanted by my "Malaysian friends." Dr. Poh asked me to go back the following day."

When she turned up at the Rakyat Clinic the next day, Dr. Poh gave her three types of medicine - three bottles of pills for gastric pain (300 tablets), Vitamin B12 compound for injection (eight to 10 phials) and a bottle of antipyretic pills (300 tablets).

Wang said that Dr. Poh told her how to use the medicines and she noted it down in Chinese.

Later in the year she went to Bentong-Raub to meet Ah Lee, the leader of the Sixth Assault Unit of the CPM. Ah Lee gave her more tasks and one of these was to buy more medicine.

In May or June 1975, Wang again went to Dr. Poh's clinic in Balastier Road.

"This time, Dr. Poh did not ask me why I wanted the medicine. Like previously, I was told to come back the following day," Wang said.

This time she got four types of medicine - 10 phials of penicillin (which was not available on the market), a bottle of pills for gastric pain, a bottle of pills for rheumatism and five phials of B12 compound.

Again Dr. Poh taught Wang how to use the medicine and again no bill was given.

Early this year, Wang again went to the Rakyat Clinic and this time she got from Dr. Poh a bottle of vitamin pills and a bottle of pills for gastric pain.

When she asked Dr. Poh how much all the medicine that she had so far obtained cost, Dr. Poh replied that payment did not matter and that he did not want her to pay.

Wang said she insisted and finally, Dr. Poh accepted $150 from her.

Apart from seeking Dr. Poh's help to buy medcine, her husband and she had also been to the Medical Hall and the Ping Min Medical Hall to buy medicine on three occasions.

All the labels on the packages were removed and the medicine was packed in a travelling bag before being despatched to Siong Pek.

Out of the $300 given to her by Siong Pek, $150 was paid to Dr. Poh. The remaining $150 was used by her husband and her to buy Chinese medicine.

"We had actually spent more than that on the Chinese medicine."

Wang's husband, Pang confirmed in his statement what his wife said.

He said: "Some time in late 1974, Wang Kui Inn told me she had in the company of her friends in the Malayan New Democratic Youth League (MNDYL), visited the leader of the Assault Unit in the jungles of Pahang.

"It was in December 1974 that Wang Kui Inn related to me that she had obtained the medicine from Dr. Poh at Rakyat Clinic.

"Some time in mid 1975, she told me that before she obtained the medicine from Dr. Poh, she had told him that the CPM liberation army needed medicine and had asked him if he could help in the purchase and that Dr. Poh had promised to help.

"This medicine was sent to the Liberation Army through her friends in the MNDYL."

Pang also said that in early 1975, his wife told about her visit to Dr. Poh's home near the Chinese Swimming Club in Amber Road to obtain medicine, which again was later sent to the Liberation Army through friends in the MNDYL.

In May or June last year and again early this year, she again visited Dr Poh's home.  

He said when he was sent by Wang to buy some medicine he was given $60.


Monday, 5 January 2015

The 1974 Katong Bomb

It was just 6 am on Friday, 20 December 1974, when residents of Katong woke up to a mighty explosion. A bomb carried by the front seat passenger on his lap prematurely exploded as the car travelling down Still Road was just about to reach the junction with East Coast Road. It instantly killed the passenger, a Malaysian and ripped him open. The blast threw out the driver, a driver on to the road and he was eventually to die in hospital despite surgery. The driver an old boy of Chung Cheng High School was then an active member of Barisan Socialis. A third man seat in the back seat limped away and escaped. 3 other bombs were also discovered amidst the wreckage. Also found were flyers of Communist Party of Malaysia satellite organisations Malaysian National Liberation Front and the Malaysan Communist Youth League.

The trio were on their way not to light up the Christmas Tree at Katong Holy Church but to bomb the owner of Nanyang Shoe Factory located in JB at his residence in East Coast. The owner and his workers were in the midst of an industrial strife. 

On Sunday, 22nd December at the stroke of midnight, Dr Poh Soo Kai and his wife Grace left their home in their Toyota Corolla and headed North. A friend called G Raman, a lawyer in private practice and fellow traveler followed them in his car, a Volvo. They crossed the Causeway and headed for a Jetty in Masai near Pasir Gudang. The waited a while in the dead of the night, a boat with 2 males crossed over from Singapore. One of them was 3rd man from the car and he was injured. They were driven quite a distance to an isolated wooden house where the injured man was treated. 

The lawyer took leave as he was due in Court in a few hours time to defend one client who was being tried in court for rioting with two other defendants. He was originally asked to defend two of them but the main defendant by the name of Tan Wah Piow chose to conduct his defence. 

Within a year, the lawyer went on to hire a young female lawyer called Teo Soh Lung for his practice. 

Since Singapore's history began, there were 3 main incidents involving detention without trail. First was Operation Coldstore in 1963, the Euro Communists arrests in 1977 and Operations Spectrum - the Marxist Conspiracy in 1987. Dr Poh was one of the stars of the first incident in 63, G Raman was main protagonist in the second in 77 and Teo Soh Lung in the third in 87. Note the link involving 3 individuals over a span of 25 years.

Take Dr Poh Soo Kai for example. He was born with a silver spoon, a member of OCBC's Lee Kong Chian clan, did not have to work a day and could have lived a life of luxury. His first loves was English literature and poetry. When he began his medical studies at University of Singapore, he leaned towards the common man felt strongly about looking after the downtrodden and the exploited. He became a member of the Univeristy Socialist Club and became editor of Fajar. The British arrested the lot and charged them in court for sedition. A young Singapore Lawyer from Cambridge arranged for their defence and they were acquitted. Poh Soo Kai was in someone's basement in Oxley putting together flyer for the Owner's electoral debut. 

These are men of conviction, resolve and not out to make money. They wanted to save those who could not help themselves. They preferred a classless society. The was only one issue. The means to the end was not limited.



The body of the dead saboteur being examined by the late pathologist Professor Chao Tzee Cheng.