On Oct 29, Shadrake wrote in British Weekly, his "Open Letter to the Singapore Government":
"I am being prosecuted and facing jail for exposing prosecutorial scandals in Singapore – scandals this PAP dictatorship doesn’t want decent Singaporean citizens to know about. "
Well, the 76 year old British certainly had his bravado knocked out of his system when the Singapore court convicted this week him of challenging the integrity of the city state's judiciary in a book criticising its use of the death penalty. Confidently armed with state anointed judicial powers to dish out a custodial sentence or a fine – or both – judge Quentin Loh dangled a carrot in front of the subdued Shadrake, saying he was giving him "a final opportunity to make amends", i.e. now is the time to come to Jesus.
After the court adjourned on Wednesday, the pugnacity in Shadrake was evidently diminished in his neutered choice of words, "I think I've been given a very fair hearing." Faced with a loaded gun at his forehead, even a mendicant professor must be tempted to grovel. Lest we forget, there is the double whammy of the Attorney General's Chambers' separate threat of criminal defamation charges, which carry penalties of up to two years in jail and a fine.
In a prospectus designed to win over sceptical academics about a proposed NUS-Yale liberal arts college, Yale President Richard Levin and Provost Peter Salovey admitted they were "greatly concerned" by the Shadrake case. "It gives us reason to inquire even more deeply to understand how free faculty and students would be to express themselves in scholarly publications, in the classroom and on campus," they wrote.
Shadrake has thus far refused to apologise, saying after the ruling that he would "work out how to do this and satisfy the court". Don't waste time here, you might as well have talked to Hitler about world peace. All that fellow wanted was a piece of Poland, a piece of France, a piece of Russia, etc. What was it that the Old Man once said?
"Repression, Sir, is a habit that grows. I am told it is like making love--it is always easier the second time! The first time there may be pangs of conscience, a sense of guilt. But once embarked on this course with constant repetition you get more and more brazen in the attack." (Singapore Legislative Assembly Debates, 4 Oct 1956)