Thursday, October 02, 2008

8:20 PM

The passing of a hero

Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam, a prominent opposition politician passed way just 2 days ago on September 30. He was 82.

He may be visibile to most middle-age voters, but youngsters like us, seem to only realise the existence of such fighters right here in Singapore only when we mark their passing. Its ironic that the first time I heard of him was through the MOE-sanctioned upper-sec Social Studies textbook. He was the first opposition politician to break the PAP's complete stranglehold on Parliament. Being the Secretary-General of the Worker's Party then, he won the 1981 Anson by-election.

From then on, the political landscape in Singapore was never the same again. Some say, that then was supposed to mark the first step forward to a more mature democracy. Despite the early optimism, the extrapolated trend did not come to fruition despite some 27 years later.

Right up to the last days before his passing, he was still filing a class-action suit against our leaders for not holding a by-election for Jurong GRC. His Reform Party was just established a few months back. All the previous lawsuits and bankruptcy proceedings against him failed to diminish his desire to serve in our political arena. Thats a hallmark of a person who does what he thinks is right despite all odds. His passing is really an event worth mourning. ("Really"?, but our media hardly cares about it anyway.)

You can read more at the tribute post at the onlinecitizen and even my best pal killerzephyr's post.

Rest assured, his death will be remembered. It marks the start of more to come in the future. With that, he leaves behind an even smaller pool of capable opposition members willing to further similar causes. The ruling party will also experience a similar loss of talent in a "key area(s)".

Without a new influx of blood, it is scary to project the future prospects of Singapore. All that remains now, is for the younger generation like us, to step up onto the political pedestal and prepare to take the reins of our future. Or is it a classic case of too little too late? Who knows, we may be the generation that will witness the downfall of our tiny great island or push it into its golden age? The choice is in our hands and we need to prepare for whatever outcome it may be, and fast!

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