Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Long Voyage Home

23 Oct 1947-20 Nov 2011
In 1977, lawyer Francis Khoo fled Singapore to avoid being detained by the notorious Internal Security Department (ISD). The Ministry of Home Affairs claims he was wanted for questioning because a number of people arrested in February of that year "for activities to rebuild the Communist United Front in Singapore" had "implicated Francis Khoo for involvement in the group."

In 1977, the twin spacecraft Voyager 1 and 2 blasted off to take advantage of a planetary alignment that occurs once every 176 years. Travelling a billion miles every 3 years, they flew past Jupiter (1979), Saturn (1980), Uranus (1986), Neptune (1989), and onward to infinity and beyond. After 34 years in space, Voyager 1 is 18 billion km away; Voyager 2 is 14.5 km away. That's close to the theoretical 19 billion km distance where the solar system ends. The spacecraft carries messages from earth, music and greetings, etched in old styled phonographs. In 1977, nobody heard of a CD.

Francis Khoo Kah Siang spent those 34 years in exile.

In an obituary notice on Friday 25 Nov, Mrs Khoo said that her husband was involved in the legalities of forming a Citizens' Co-op to save the doomed Singapore Herald.
"On May 27, 1971 - after the Wee Cho Yaw fiasco - a pro-tem committee of "five concerned citizens," namely University of Singapore's economics lecturer Dr Lee Soo Ann, lawyers Francis Khoo Kah Siang, political scientist Patrick Low, bank officer Mok Kwong Yue, and architect Tay Kheng Soon, stepped forward and issued a statement calling upon the people and government to "support our efforts to set up a co-operative to purchase the Singapore Herald and turn it into a Citizens' Paper."
(The Media Enthralled: Singapore Revisited, Francis Seow, page 95)

Although Lee Kuan Yew had reluctantly absolved the CIA of "direct involvement" in the operation of the Singapore Herald, he had persisted in his stubborn belief that other U.S. propaganda agencies were likely financiers, such as the U.S. Information Service and the Voice of America. The Singapore Herald was accused of creating unwelcomed "pressure points on the government" and had to be stopped at all costs.

The international reaction was scathing:
"Singapore is a one-party State and bears the injuries that all one-party States do to themselves.
Those who see the power of the Singapore government and the lengths to which Lee Kuan Yew is prepared to go to hang on to it are frightened by what is likely to be the result of it. In Singapore the question is being asked more often these days: what is the point of being the best fed, best administered, best education nations in Asia if that nation is also one of the least free."
(The Australian, 21 May 1971)
Francis Khoo is free at last. At 64, he takes his place among the heavenly stars.


  1. nobody lives forever, including those who ran away, so called "exiles".

  2. Nobody lives forever, including those who has overstayed his welcome in Singapore political arena.

  3. So another hard truth ... again ?

    So how can that particular book be called "Hard Truths" if there are still so many hard truths not revealed or unanswered ?

    Is it then not plain dishonest for any author to claim they are the hard truths when they are not complete truths ?

  4. One day we will have our glasnost. The Straits Times will be defanged. The truth will emerge. Revisionists will hold court. And old scores will be settled. Till then we will wait.

  5. Hard truth is the good die young. If you want to live long, you need to be a super asshole. Forget about taking vitamin supplements and exercising. Just be a fucking goddamned bastard. You'll live to celebrate your 100th birthday.

    Look at Old Fart. 88+ yrs and still forecasting and pontificating like a 20-yr old. Collecting multi-million dollar pension and free medical service by the best specialists in S'pore. Probably gives his monthly $15K MP allowance to his servants, that's why don't even bother to turn up for parliamentary sessions. And I bet he also don't go for meet-the-people sessions --- all taken care of by his underling MPs and running dog grassroots.

  6. How many 34 years does one have? Most people get 2 and life is over.
    Apparently with the collapse of communism it didn't lead to the freedom of the exiles and those wrongly maligned or detained like Francis Khoo and many others. You have to wonder why are they so afraid to give them an open inquiry if the govt truly has nothing to fear (in LKY's words). Well let me guess..is far easier to fingerpoint to a man after he's gone and ask for forgiveness to a dead man than to shoot the executioners who were merely carrying out their blunt tools.