Friday, September 13, 2013

The Rashomon Effect

Akira Kurosawa's movie version of Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama well known for a plot device which involves various characters providing alternative accounts of the same incident. The incident concerns the rape of a woman and the murder of her samurai husband, as narrated through the conflicting perspectives of four witnesses, including the bandit/rapist, the deflowered wife, her dead husband (speaking through a medium), and a woodcutter, the one witness that seems to be the most objective and least biased. The Rashomon effect is a term used by a number of scholars, journalists and film critics to refer to contradictory interpretations of the same events by different persons, a problem that arises in the process of uncovering truth.

We have heard the Government's official version of how Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah died from positional asphyxia. Now thanks to the persistence of the family's quest for the truth, we have their account of the horrific abuse of a young man by sadistic prison officers of the Abu Ghraib persuasion.
On 27 September 2010, the following officers of the Prison Service were on duty at Changi Prison Complex, Institution A4:
Deputy Superintendent of Prison Lim Kwo Yin Darius (“DSP Darius”);
Deputy Superintendent of Prison Harry Yap Hong Hock (“DSP Harry”);
Assistant Superintendent of Prison Teo Chong Lian Dylan (“ASP Dylan”);
Chief Warden Daljit Singh S/O Gurbachan Singh (“CW Daljit”);
Chief Warden Rozairudin Bin Zaini (“CW Rozairudin”);
Sergeant Yen Chia Hsien (“Sgt Yen”);
Sergeant Tan Heng Chye Marcus (“Sgt Marcus”);
Sergeant Lee Fangwei Jonathan (“Sgt Jonathan”);
Corporal Anand Pereira (“Cpl Anand”); and
Corporal Robby Bin Sulaiman (“Cpl Robby”)

On that day, sometime between 7.30 am and 7.45 am, Sgt Yen commenced his morning shift duties at Changi Prison Complex, Institution A4. While in the course of carrying out his duties, Sgt Yen arrived at cell number 555 and saw Dinesh. Sgt Yen then uttered the words “Dinesh, long time never see you. Now you come back, you become a suicidal watch”.

These words were heard by Dinesh and was misunderstood by Dinesh to mean that Sgt Yen was partial against him. Dinesh asked Sgt Yen a question, the gist of which was, “Sir, you got something against me is it?” Dinesh then turned away from Sgt Yen and, as he turned away, he gestured his middle finger at Sgt Yen and uttered a vulgarity. Sgt Yen verbally reported the Incident to DSP Darius. However, no written report was lodged.

Despite the fact that Dinesh was not allowed to go to the outdoor yard, he was deliberately let out at about 9.45 am. Because of the earlier incident, as Dinesh was returning from the outdoor yard to his cell at about 10.45 am, he was accosted by Sgt Jonathan and then tackled by Sgt Yen onto the ground.

While on the ground, Sgt Yen restrained Dinesh. At this juncture, CW Daljit approached Dinesh (who was still on the ground and restrained by Sgt Yen) and attempted to lock Dinesh’s arms. DSP Darius also approached Dinesh and he restrained Dinesh’s lower limbs. Sgt Jonathan deployed the Oleoresin Capsicum Delivery System (“OCDS”) and applied the same onto Dinesh’s face. Sgt Jonathan then placed both his knees against the sides of Dinesh’s head and applied pressure. Consequently, Dinesh was unable to breathe. At the same time, Dinesh was also weakened by the OCDS. His eyes became red and there was mucus coming out from his nose. All these physical symptoms were ignored. He was then handcuffed to his back and placed in a prone position.

Subsequently, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and CW Rozairudin also approached Dinesh. Together with Sgt Yen and CW Daljit, they restrained and controlled Dinesh’s body and his movement including through the use of joint-locks to cause Dinesh to suffer pain. They were then directed to lead Dinesh to the outdoor yard. After a few steps, Dinesh was put into a prone position again on the ground. Dinesh was then lifted up and brought to the outdoor yard. Dinesh was profusely apologizing and begging for leniency from the officers but his pleas were ignored.

When Dinesh was brought to the outdoor yard, DSP Harry and DSP Darius were also there. Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. Dinesh was then drooling from his mouth. Again, this physical symptom was ignored. Dinesh was brought to stand in front of two rows of inmates and then instructed to continuously shout (each time louder than the previous) using vulgar language in Hokkien - directed at a notorious gang.

Subsequently, Dinesh was brought from the outdoor yard to a common area known as “Sally Port”. At “Sally Port”, Dinesh was again put in a prone position on the ground. While on the ground, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin.

Dinesh was then lifted up from the ground and led to Stair Core 3 (which is a staircase landing) for relocation to the Disciplinary Housing Unit (“DHU”). ASP Dylan was also at Stair Core 3. Dinesh continued to be restrained by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. Dinesh was walking unsteadily and perspiring profusely. Again, these physical symptoms were ignored.

On level 2 of Stair Core 3, Dinesh was put onto the ground again. At this juncture, Dinesh had become physically very weak. Again, this physical symptom was ignored.

Dinesh was then lifted up again and led into cell number 1 in the DHU. Sgt Marcus opened the door to DHU Cell Number 1. Inside DHU Cell Number 1, Dinesh was again put onto the floor in a prone position. While on the ground, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin. ASP Dylan and DSP Darius also arrived in DHU Cell Number 1.

In DHU Cell Number 1, while on the ground in the prone position that he was put in, Dinesh was moaning softly. His eyes were closed and motionless. Again, these physical symptoms were ignored. At the same time, Dinesh continued to be restrained and made to suffer pain from joint-locks applied by CW Daljit, Sgt Yen, Sgt Jonathan, Cpl Robby, Cpl Anand and/or CW Rozairudin.

While in DHU Cell Number 1, one of the officers then poured water on Dinesh’s face but there was no response from him. More water was poured onto Dinesh’s face. However, there was still no response from Dinesh. DSP Darius then gave instructions to all the officers in DHU Cell Number 1 to leave the cell, leaving Dinesh unattended.

Subsequently, DSP Darius returned to DHU Cell Number 1 and was unable to detect any pulse on Dinesh. Dinesh had died.

Like the inconsistent variants in Rashomon, the two accounts are challenged by logical incompatibilities.  One interpretation is certain, the final version will be motivated by factors of ego, face-saving and politics. Due to its emphasis on the subjectivity of truth and the uncertainty of factual accuracy, Rashomon has been read by some as an allegory of the defeat of Japan at the end of World War II. The Dinesh variant could well turn out to be an allegory of the defeat of a certain political party.


  1. Excellent observation. Aside from everything else thrown at us from all sides, surely there must be surveillance tapes of the suicide watch cell and the other areas which should settle a lot of the dispute?

    1. Exactly especially when they want the victim's family to believe only one side of their story, why are there no CCTV tapes released to the public to backup their story?

    2. //why are there no CCTV tapes released?//

      Simple. They will use the same excuse for the CCTV failure during Mas Selamat's escape: the CCTV system was shut off due to maintenance work being carried out.

  2. Yes, Dinesh Raman Chinnaiah died from positional asphyxia. But who caused the positional asphyxia?


  4. Why is M. Ravi the only one doing all the shit jobs. All other lawyers in Singapore have died? Shame on the law profession and Singaporean lawyers.

    1. Yes, agree with you. All other good lawyers have indeed died in Singapore. We need to ask LKY why.

    2. Which lawyer is daring enough to take on the state apparatus? Only the brave Ravi.

    3. What if there is no M. Ravi? Are you doomed? This island has no justice.

    4. LKY and his wife are both lawyers - one of the first things they did was to bring down the legal system in Singapore to its knees to kowtow to the PAP.

    5. @ anon 8:25PM,
      i believe LKY has earned a place in history for this and future generations may decide to call it "The LKY Effect" ...whereby the entire legal system is rendered subservient to one political party.

    6. Soto Ayam and Soto Wu Gui

    7. He who owns the piper calls the tune. This time it will be Looney Tune.

  5. Lawyers are elites, capitalists and they see only money in front of their paths.

    Law? ha! ha!.. its just a tool to get money.
    Cant blame them either.. the system was created by them for them.

  6. Even a Norway mass killer who went on 77 killing rampage has more dignified treatment and access to open justice than a young inmate on a suicidal watch in Singapore prison. All because they have values that they uphold, institutionally and constitutionally. This party no longer has the ability to recognize the truth let alone, seek it or speak it.

    What a bunch of pathetic wussies.

  7. Hmmm.....So is there a Dinesh's version through the medium?
    Does Mr M Ravi has the transcript by any chance..

    1. What are you trying to imply? To come up with a timeline of the events definitely require a great amount of resources and investigative works. The plaintiff affidavit is for the AGC to rebut in the court, if it is to be one.

    2. where are the testimony of 73 inmate witnesses?
      did the dead dinesh tell his side of story through the medium, just like the character in rashomon movie?

  8. People say justice need to be seen & done. But by rejecting the mother' s call for a coroner's report to be concluded, why are they So eager to compensate the family and try to close the case?

    When rhe Govt is so eager to compensate without the need for a coroner's findings to be made in the case of an unnatural death, is there something fishy that someone has something to hide from both the victim's family or the public?

    1. Is it not kind of funny that as a consequence of the death, the Govt BENEFITS by being richer by the $12,000 fine levied on the accused?

      And then at most they are willing to compensate the family by the same amount So as not to suffer any loss?

  9. All that has to be done and must be done is to have
    a Coroner Inquiry conducted into the Unnatural Death of the Victim.
    Why allow so many doubts, speculations, guessing games and suspicions to float around?
    Singaporeans are reasonable and do not usually like to speculate or blame anyone or anything unless they are badly pigued by contentious issues.

  10. Singapore very good.
    PM Lee says he is on our side.
    Are you calling him a liar?

    1. In your backside, sticking spurs in your hide, that is.

    2. And a sock in your mouth, so you can't make complaining noises.

    3. Or even enjoyment noises.

  11. ...and we laughed...9/14/2013 10:55 AM

    LKY,GCT,LHL sat on the veranda of the Istana sipping silver needle tea. Tony dropped by and asked:

    Tony: Looks like there is another attempt to discredit our boys. Guys, I am getting worried. I am the 36% man! I dont know how long I can go around smiling and being dumb!!

    The "guys" looked at each other and laughed.. LHL's laughter could be heard all the way in the kitchen. And when Prata-man heard it, he too laughed!..
    Laughter filled the remainder of the afternoon.

    There was so much enjoyment and peace.

  12. Dun worry.
    Our reserves are with "steady hands".
    Carefully watched over by a big pair of spectacles.

  13. omfg ...... my ritual postings expressing my love to the heavenly god kuan yew not removed and/or censored by blog owner

    i truly beholden to his kindless ....

    LOVE LIVE KUAN YEW ..... be mentally alert to witness his departure; you fucking piece of shit!

  14. ofmg ... my praise of hsien loong and his heavenly father kuan yew had being censored and removed by the esteem blog owner

    must have a great dislike for the illustrious lee family .... to remove my expression of admiration for them and their great CONtributions

    here i go again in their honour

    long live kuan yew ..... witness if he can cUm back or jump out after 3 days too

  15. The Orwell effect.

    1. The LeeConYew effect is superior to the Orwell effect...even queen elizabeth sends her birthday greetings to old fart.

      Does this mean the queen of england would have accepted a brit known to serve the German army in WW2 as the long as he is deemed to have brought "prosperity" ?

      Would the emperor of Japan endorse his PM if known to serve the PRC army during Japan's military campaign in China ?

      Would the PRC leadership accept a citizen who served the japanese army as their President, PM ?

  16. The MHA statement says “… the family has informally suggested that they would be prepared to ‘settle’ the matter for substantial windfall amounts…”

    "substantial windfall amounts" is likening it to striking lottery. So Dinesh's family struck lottery when they killed him? How grotesque can MHA be, putting a quantum on someone's death? Typical PAP, always money but no heart. Give them the Coroner's Inquiry already. Afraid that all the skulduggery will be revealed, that there will be too many "woodcutters" giving the lie to them?

  17. Something in this account rings alarm bells on my radar.
    "Sgt Yen verbally reported the Incident to DSP Darius"

    It sets me to wonder if it was DSP Darius who planned for Sgt Yen to provoke the victim. This will explain why Sgt Yen reported back to DSP Darius as well as explain why the DSP turned up at the assault session on the victim.

    It would be wise for the victim's family to seek out an order to examine all records of dealing between Sgt Yen and DSP Darius. Also seek records of how many officers of DSP level are personally involved in restraint incidents against inmates at this prison. It would be very revealing if this case is the only one where a DSP personally tackles a prisoner.