Monday, December 10, 2012

Who Is Dr Vasoo?

Dr Sushilan Vasoo was department head (1986-1999) when Chee Soon Juan was a lecturer at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Social Work and Psychology. In 1992, Chee went head-to-head against the prime minister in the Marine Parade by-election on a Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) ticket. It was a respectable performance - considering who he was locking horns with - winning 24.5 per cent of the vote.

The People's Action Party (PAP) had always derided the SDP for putting up as candidates cab drivers and secretaries who could never run the country vis-a-vis scholar generals who supposedly can. Chee and other intellectuals moving into the party were clearly qualified professionals with more impressive credentials. They also had a strategy: to build up the opposition gradually and visibly so the electororate could see it happening and not to fear a change from decades of one-party dominance. This was perceived as a serious threat to the PAP.

Three months after the by-election, Dr Vasoo (Associate Professorial Fellow, July 2002- Present), who happened to be a member of parliament for the PAP (Tanjong Pagar 1991-2001), sacked him. The alleged offence was that Chee had used research funds assigned to him to express mail his wife's doctoral thesis to her academic adviser in the United States. Chee responded by saying the university had authorised the mailing and that his sacking was designed to make people think very carefully before saying "the wrong thing". Dr Vasoo promptly sued him. Chee's lawyers said he could not afford to lose a court case, and he agreed to pay "about pounds 100,000" in an out-of-court settlement. (The Independent, "Inside Story: Singapore grip" ).

Last week Dr Vasoo, now 71, through his lawyer Davinder Singh sent a letter of demand to two socio-political websites, alleging words were “published maliciously and recklessly” and constituted a grave libel. The letter said the allegation that Dr Vasoo had “fabricated evidence” to deprive opposition politician Chee Soon Juan of his living was “false and baseless”, since Dr Vasoo had successfully obtained a judgment against Dr Chee for making similar allegations in 1993.

It demanded that the websites remove the offending words and related comments, warning that legal proceedings will start against them if they did not comply. Dr Vasoo did not ask for any damages or costs, which was pretty magnanimous of him, considering Mr Singh's rates are like $1,800 per hour (directors/managing directors $900-$1,500/hr, associate directors/deputy directors $700-$800/hr, senior associates $500-$650/hr). But Mr Singh is also a nice man, known to provide pro bono services. The websites quickly apologised to Dr Vasoo.

Asked by reporters to comment about the matter at a forum, Dr Vasoo said he had nothing more to add, leading us to understand that he "did not raise a whimper", to borrow the terminology in the offending quote:
Not a whimper
“It fabricates evidence – as Dr Vasoo did twenty years ago – to deprive people of their living. Lest I be accused of fabricating this, I draw evidence from the fact that this accusation has been published abroad in my colleague, Chee Soon Juan’s book, Democratically Speaking, available these last three months and against which Dr Vasoo has not raised a whimper.”

It also leads us to wonder why Chee was not sued over the said book published by him. Like why Ross Worthington was not sued for documenting the slapping of S Dhanabalan in 1990 (page 150, "Governance in Singapore", Taylor & Francis, Inc, Dec 2002).


  1. Mole. Mole. Moley, moley, moley.

    Watch funny 1 minute scene about facial mole from Austin Powers movie 'Goldmember"

  2. "There are three principles in a man's being and life, the principle of thought, the principle of speech, and the principle of action. The origin of all conflict between me and my fellow-men is that I do not say what I mean and I don't do what I say." Martin Buber

    ".......This year, Formula One filed for an initial public offering on the Singapore stock exchange, with an intended valuation of as much as $10 billion. Mr. Ecclestone’s net worth is estimated at $2.4 billion.
    In 2011, the German media reported accusations that the deputy chief of BayernLB, Gerhard Gribkowsky, had taken a $44 million bribe from Mr. Ecclestone in connection with the sale of Formula One. Mr. Gribkowsky was responsible for the disposition of the bank’s 47.4 percent interest in Formula One.
    ...... At the banker’s trial in Munich last year, Mr. Ecclestone testified that Mr. Gribkowsky was “shaking him down,” and that the payment was made to prevent Mr. Gribkowsky from claiming to the British tax authorities that Mr. Ecclestone controlled the Bambino trust, something that would invalidate the ability of the trust to hold the Formula One stake tax-free.
    ..........Moreover, Bluewaters claimed BayernLB had paid Mr. Ecclestone $41.4 million from the funds it received from CVC in order to then pay Mr. Gribkowsky to steer the bid to CVC.
    Formula One acknowledged in its Singapore I.P.O. prospectus that was highly dependent on Mr. Ecclestone. Market turmoil in June led Formula One to abandon its initial offering. And Mr. Ecclestone is still intimately involved: the Bambino trust holds 8.5 percent of Formula One, and he owns 5.3 percent.
    This is a troubled time for CVC and Formula One. They risk losing Mr. Ecclestone as they become embroiled in multiple investigations. And it will certainly be much harder to take the company public or sell it.
    Ultimately, though, this is a lesson in deal-making and how the machinations surrounding any sale can lead those involved to extreme measures, even possibly illegal ones. ......." unquote

    (For CVC Capital, Formula One's Perils Extend Beyond the Racecourse - NYTimes_com)

    (S'pore is what it is today because of globalisation Lee Kuan Yew - Channel NewsAsia)

    ( - Total's Formula 1 commitment in 2012)

    (Singapore a “Barren Island” in the 1950s A miscommunication or another untruth Jentrified Citizen)

    (Singapore Notes Myth Busters)

    (Of Opportunists and Sycophants in Academia « Singapore Armchair Critic)

    (Singapore F1 extension not a done deal S’pore GP Fit to Post Sports - Yahoo! Sports Singapore)

    (毛泽东的大饥荒:中文字幕版 - YouTube)


    (Mariah Carey ft Whitney Houston When You Believe HD - YouTube)

    Joshua Chiang

  3. Selective amnesia is a disease that affects many politicians. For example:
    "I'm sorry, but we will try and do better the next time..."
    "Repression, Sir is a habit that grows..." nauseum....

  4. Very strange indeed. Why shoot the messengers leaving the originator alone? Is Chee bankrupt and unable to provide financial compensation? But we know those cases are not about money. A conspiracy somewhere.

    1. The PAPigs may be hoping that CSJ will run in GE 2016. And end up splitting the Opposition vote and unity.
      Sad isn't it.
      A party so politically bankrupt.
      That their only chance of victory is a disunited Opposition.

  5. If Dr. Chee was not sacked for that, he could also be sacked for allowing his wife to use the stationery that he brought back home just like any of us would do it. It's actually no big deal and a matter of how one would look at it. But for a Minister and his son to each accept a big discount from a prominent developer, which type of honesty is worse compared to that of Dr. Chee?

    1. He is the god. To the daft sheepaporeans, god makes no mistakes. An extra egg in his Char Kway Tiao is the norm rather than the exception. To be inside the balloting area is not being within x metres from it. Kangaroos hop because four legs good two legs better.

  6. Please lah...these self entitled losers of the PAP can only win in the local courts...

    Try overseas courts..the judges will threw it out of court...

    I only see little froggies in pap well trying to croak louder than a train which is heading their way....truely dumb, blind and too narrow minded...

    And this is the best of man kind...nuts.

    1. Yes, you're was thrown out of the UK court for being petty was the case of Lee Wei Ling vs that Neuro surgeon she kicked out of SG...everybody knows the kangaroo court is a joke...and as an 'emotionless' society..we are very good at hiding or rather, not wearing our hearts on the sleeve you know why....too many mr kiasoo types to sue people for libel over petty things...

  7. I think locals are already very familar with this style from the pigs which is also frequently used by people from the elite and super rich group - using the law to gain unfair advantage. THis form of abusing justice tactic has been overplayed and locals are resenting it. We have to put an end to this one party rule and create a more democratic country that brings more peace and harmony, checks and balance to everyone in this small island.

    1. Who appoints the judges?

    2. Good question. Everyone knows but no one wants to talk about it publicly...