singapore human rights update and taiwan labor rights

1230 actions of the labors in taipei, singapore human rights activist statement for 5 days fast

you wouldn’t believe this, I am sitting in my brother’s room, using his computer and listening to his pop song collection(its actually only 5 songs)

at the end of 2007. here i am.

Taipei 101, the simple of a penis in taiwan

this afternoon i was out doing a media report of an action of 4 fired union organizer(traffic wardens, were fired by the company, or i would say government, they were hired by the stated company). it started at 2pm, Hide was supposed to bring his DV for me, but he got late and none of us know where they meet up for the action today. So we were calling everybody(Hide was, i dont have phone) after 20 mins we were walking in the crowd tried to find them.

Ok let me explain first about the whole thing and the action:

the situation now is, 4 traffic wardens(I dont know if this is the word for it, but these are the people who give ticket, and charge for the car that park on the public parking space) were fired by the state owned company under the charge “over 6 days of absent from work”, but 3 of these people were actually organizer of the union, so they took day off for union meeting. earlier this year there were a new director transfer to their department, who doesn’t consent of any of their day off letter for union meetings. so all the day off became absence, on 15th Dec they fired them. But the truth behind : the state has tried to BOT most of the work where they can pay less to the worker and earn the “benefit”(in a marxism way, surplus value) over on this. both the state and the BOT company. So first they try to break off the “union” in the department, after when the whole department is at its defendless position, the state will be ready to BOT the whole department.

and couple days ago when the mayor were talking about this issue on media, he said “these people were fired because they absent their work for over 200 days” which is obviously a lie.

So the action : on the same day, there is a big parade organized by 7-11, for the 30 years of Anniversary. so they invited alot of crazy group and things and people come alone to celebrate with them for taking over this country’s retail business from the small community shops. (that’s why i hate them so much) also the mayor of taipei will be coming here to “wave” and “meet” “HIS citizens”. the Action is to stop him on the way and get him response about lying for the 200 days of absence.

some who worked for the gov told us that the mayor will be at the parade around 2:20. but still we couldn’t find any union members at the parade, it is too big, and too many people. so we decided to go to the very front of the parade, because they said that’s where the mayor will be at 2:20. we got thro the crowd “do you see them?” we were yelling to each other in the crowd until we finally meet them, the union member are in the front, they were giving flyers on the whole way. we introduced ourselves and ask about today’s action. They had done a few of this similar action the past day, so we were wondering if it will be the same thing, while we were walkin together and talking, the police come near us all and at one conner the police start to yell, they pull out the mic and “announcing” “you are against the assembly and march law, we warn you to leave right away” it is 2:26. The union member yelled back “hey, we are not having an assembly or any sort, we are just giving leaflet” “yeah, they are not doing anything” somebody were yelling behind my back.

this time, alot of media came all together surround us. “we are just giving leaflet and if possible we would like to talk to the mayor and ask him why he lied about us having over 200 days of absence, is it illegal?” “you are having an assembly, and you already made yourself heard…” this time, the police behind our back announcing for the second “warming” (according to the laws in taiwan, if there is over than 3 people all together, yelling out slogan, holding bannder or any sort, poster, having a political intention it is against the law if not apply in advance) it is 2:40 now, the police behind my back were announcing the “illegal” assembly. “we will leave, we will leave, we are not having any assembly or anything, its just giving leaflet” one of the union member said, me and hide are in the crowd, the mainstream media reporter behind my back were keep pushing me, i had a mixed ideas, if i should let him stand at the position where he can make a good document, or i should just stand in front of him, since they are not gonna have “true” report anyway.

while the union members were saying they are gonna leave, the police surround them, no body is able to leave that place, (hide and I were guessing it is probably because the mayor arrived the place) at this point, the police again announced the “Final” announcing “we will start to arrest people, you have already against the law” “but it is fucked up, coz we said we dismissed, you besiege us” it is true, they police tactic.

this time, the people try to push to leave the place, but police is also pushing people and “pretending” they ganna arrest somebody, so the crowd dismiss, still one of the member were still talking to one police about how they need only 2 mins to talk to the mayor. this time we heard the mayor is in the parade, just right across us on the side of the stree. me and hide decided to go interview him and take some shots of him shaking people’s hands, waving and smiling to the kids like he fucking give a shit. there were alot of bodyguard sort people around him, they asked us and stand in front of us tried to stock up on our way to him, Hide asked the mayor “what do you think about firing these people? they said they didnt have 200 days absence… ” one guy stood in font of our dv and tell us that the mayor had already talked about his opinion on this many times, “just leave him alone on this….”

we decide to go back to the union members and see if they have other actions. the mayor isnt going to say antying, let alone the authority wash away his faults, if you lose you job, its your life that is fucked, not his. One friend who came to help the union to give out leaflet were giving the leaflet when the time we went back, 2 police came out of the crowd and fasten both of his arms, “you are against the law”… ” what law is he against?” we asked, the police couldn’t say anything. they keep holding him, “what did i do? i was just giving leaflet” “he was giving leaflet..” the polices were still holding him……..

after 40 mins he is released….

afterwards, they police said the reason they hold him and brought him back to the police station was to ‘confirm’ his identification. and yes they can say anything…. ACAB!!

Around 3pm when i was outside getting hit by the police arms and pushed around by the mainstream medias in the crowd, a friend from Singapore sent an email to his friends :

A Singaporean activist, Seelan Palay, will be fasting without food for five days starting 9am 31st Dec (tomorrow) outside the Malaysian High Commission regarding the ISA detention of the Hindraf leaders.


I, Seelan Palay, am going to undertake fasting in my personal capacity for a period of 5 days calling for the release of the 5 Hindu Rights Action Force (HINDRAF) leaders, legal adviser P Uthayakumar, lawyers M Manoharan, R Kenghadharan, V Ganabatirau and organizing secretary T Vasanthakumar, who were arrested on 13 December 2007under the Malaysian Internal Security Act (ISA) on unfounded charges of incitement to rebellion and for having links with terrorist organizations. Detention without trial under the draconian Internal Security Act is unjustified for the HINDRAF 5, who only struggle for the marginalized 8% of ethnic minority Indians in Malaysia.

The fast, in which I will only consume water and no food, will be carried out outside the Malaysian High Commission in Singapore, 31 Jervois Road. It will begin at 9am on Monday, 31 December 2007 and end at 9am on Saturday, 5 January 2008. Each day of my fast is in dedication to each of the 5 detainees.

My action is both a personal commitment and a plea for the international community to pay attention to this serious human rights issue. I am calling for greater global commitment to bear pressure on the Malaysian Government for the release of the HINDRAF 5 and to prove any allegations made against them in an open Court process. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch USA, the Federation of Human Rights Organizations of India (FHROI) and regional NGOs have also strongly condemned this application of the ISA by the Malaysian Government.

Having been present at the HINDRAF rally in Kuala Lumpur on 25 November 2007, I can personally attest to the peaceful assembly that HINDRAF organized and the unjustified response to it by the Malaysian Federal Reserve Unit (FRU). As if there were not enough tears in the eyes of the people gathered that day, the authorities have had to administer tear gas to further add to their pain. Rubber bullets and water cannons were also used on the unarmed citizens, which included men and women of all ages. Let us not forget the Batu Caves incident earlier the same day where tear gas was shot into the Batu Caves temple upon civilians who were trapped inside.

Given our common history, I can relate to the language of structural poverty of the Malaysian Indians. The people gathered that day with peaceful intent for a just cause, and that is why I am determined to express my disquiet and discontent at what is a highhanded approach by the Malaysian Government.

In line with the greater focus on human rights in ASEAN today, what with the inclusion of a Human Rights Commission in the signing of the ASEAN Charter in Singapore, we surely cannot turn a blind eye to this matter, especially as it concerns a country which is our immediate neighbor.

Lastly, I cannot celebrate the coming of the New Year when I know that the HINDRAF 5 may be detained for an indefinite period of time.

Seelan Palay

After reading this, i talked to the friend in Singapore about this email from Seelan. Seelan is a man that i have many respect toward to, if we are not from Singapore we dont really “understand” how it is to stand up against the authority, ALONE in such situation. I feel bad, that even i know he is not “totally” alone, but in a lot of ways he is, thinking about how singapore have a big/huge hardcore/crust/trash punk scene, but how pure “un-political” it probably is. my friend who tried to explain why he is not “with” him on this, many reasons, not one can convince me to be not part of it to support friends. I feel so fucking great singapore is not dead, because they have people like Seelan, and the same time I feel fucking bad that there’s just so few of them….. But it is not over, probably its the only very beginning for them in singapore. I wish the best for them, hope this land finds its voice and its freedom.

those who knows him, please write him email for supporting, and those who are in singapore, it is not possible, it only takes you to rise up!!


1 Comment

  1. Thank you Em for posting my statement. Yes, the “big/huge hardcore/crust/trash punk scene” in Singapore may be said to be “un-political” – at least with regards to activism.

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s