Alex Au is irresponsible and disrespectful by that logic

"It is also well within Alex Au’s right to surface the issue though it was disrespectful to the Archbishop." - Dr Gillian Koh/Senior Research Fellow - Institute of Policy Studies (link: http://bit.ly/OIBAZh)

"I am not sure transparency is the key element that should be respected in this tangle." - Bertha Henson - Former Associate Editor - The Straits Times (Link: http://bit.ly/UAm0yC)
What?! It's within Alex's right to surface the issue even if it was disrespectful?! Transparency may not be the key element in this tangle?! I can't believe what I had read from the senior researcher of a government think tank and the former editor of the mainstream media. But should I have expected anything else?

How is surfacing the issue being disrespectful to the Archbishop? Gillian came to this conclusion because she feels that the issue is about the interference of religion in politics. She is mistaken. It is not! The issue at hand is one of restorative justice.

Some of those that have been arrested under Operation Spectrum in 1987 have come out in recent years to say that they have been wrongly detained without trial in the alleged Marxist Conspiracy. They have provided evidence to show why the detentions were politically motivated, and not out of concern for the security of the country. If that were so, justice requires that those that were harmed should be restored properly in society, instead of continuing to assign blame to them and dispensing punishment.in the form of stigmatisation.

The Archbishop may have decided to write the first unsolicited first letter to the former detainees and the 'That we may dream again' event organisers because as a man of the cloth, he may believe strongly in restorative justice. If the Archbishop eventually decided to withdraw the letter, allegedly on the insistence of the Minister for Home Affairs, then it is the ruling Party's politics which has interfered in religion.

How is Alex being disrespectful to the head of the Roman Catholic Church, when, clearly, his intention is to expose the arm-twisting by the Government?

After the Archbishop's first statement came out, the Ministry of Home Affairs released their own statement to the press saying,"government ministers meet regularly with various religious leaders in Singapore. Such closed-door meetings allow a frank exchange of views specially on sensitive subjects. This is a well-established process that is appreciated by both ministers and religious leaders" (and the statement did not deny Alex's sequence of events in his initial blog post (Link: http://bit.ly/QjlBwF).)

Now consider this:

"At about 7 pm last evening, several reporters called me when I was standing amidst 200 out-of-work foreign workers, all of them needing help and advice about their situation. Amidst the cacophony of twenty people trying to speak at the same time, two of the reporters asked me whether I could forward to them the email the archbishop had sent me, and what my comments to that email were.

What email? I asked. When I last checked my mailbox, around 6 pm, there was none from Nicholas Chia, and now I had no internet access. However, I promised them that I’d check and respond as soon as I got to a computer, though that might be after 10 pm.

In the end, it was 11 pm before I could get online (I tried to check my email on my ipad while on the train going home but our 3G service sucks). And still there was no email from Chia. So I told the reporters that I had received nothing. One reporter then said: Oh, the archdiocese has sent out a press statement instead, just half an hour earlier." ~ Alex Au (Link: http://bit.ly/SDs8Sr
The same reporters who hounded Alex for a response when they got wind that the Archbishop was going to release a statement in response to Alex's blog post, became timid pussy cats when the Ministry came out with its press statement.

Why didn't anyone from the mainstream media, who have access to the Minister, hound him for answers to obvious questions like, 'How often does the Minister meet with the Archbishop? Did the Minister meet the Archbishop a few days after he issued the letter to Function 8 (as suggested by Alex)? Did the Minister raise the issue of the letter from the Archbishop to Function 8 when he met with the Archbishop?'

Well, if you go by the logic of the former editor of The Straits Times, they did not ask him those questions because perhaps transparency is not the key element in this tangle. By that logic - Yes! Alex is irresponsible!

But if you, like me, think that it is important to know the inner workings of how our country is governed, and that transparency is essential to a healthier democracy, then the expose by Alex was the responsible thing to do.

Comments

Ravi, your logic is bullshit.

Stop being blinded by your anti-establishment rhetoric

First, who verified that Archbishop was "summoned" by MHA. Alex Au? Where is his source? Can he get his source to vouch for his words? He also 'admitted" that he was based this off second hand sources.

Yet you, alongside Andrew Loh, are so eager to embrace hearsay and half truths. You speak of journalism? Where are Alex's sources?

Second, Alex Au is the same Alex that was very happy that the state jumped in to cheer the state with pom poms when the Aware saga broke.
It's obvious he's happy to pit the state against religion when the needs suit him. Why was he ok with one case and unhappy with another?

The group themselves said they were had no intention of letting the issue go into public. So why did Alex Au go ahead and publish as he termed it "second hand information" unless he precisely had an ulterior motive - pitting Church against state, two actors he detests.

Lastly, it's well within the rights of the Archbishop to not want to retract the letter.

The way the group called - no DEMANDED - the Archbishop to release the letters was nothing short of disrespectful, contrary to their last press statement.

It is precisely this demand to release the letter when he has retracted it that makes them guilty of wanting to mix politics with religion. Archbishop has already said no, and yet they want to pull him in? If this is not wanting to mix politics with religion, then what is?

I urge you and Andrew Loh to set aside your biases. If you have an issue with the state go ahead and make your case. Leave the church out of this since its clear the church wants to have nothing to do with this.
Ravi Philemon said…
onedimensionalman if you read my post again, you'll notice that it is not about the Roman Catholic Church, or what the Archbishop could or could not do.

In fact I have praised the Archbishop that perhaps he first issued the unsolicited letter to the organisers not to interfere in politics, but because he saw it as restorative justice, which is a worthy Christian trait.

'The issue is the way the government stepped in to block the latter’s support for the rally using methods hardly different from 25 years ago. Don’t let the government deflect attention away from itself. They are the ones who need to answer to the people for their actions.'

The fact remains that none of the press statements so far has denied Alex's sequence of events in his initial blog post.
Roni said…
Why is it that all of a sudden, we have a bunch of PAP supporters who are so concerned about the Archbishop and the Catholic Church?

Were these same people as concerned when Archbishop Gregory Yong was "cornered" into accepting Vincent Cheng's confession in 1987, even when he was not ready to do so? Even though he had promised his priests that he will not give any conclusive response without consulting with them first.

Were they concerned that those arrested, tortured, and detained without trial were mostly innocent Catholics, either working for or volunteering in the Church?

And why are they not as concerned that these same Catholics are being victimized all over again?

Are these people not concerned that Archbishop Nicholas Chia has no freedom to support these people who are part of the Catholic flock and had to withdraw his support because of government interference?

I suspect that they are not really too concerned about the welfare of the Archbishop, Nicholas Chia or the Catholic Church, which I am part of. Their concern really is for the PAP, which they so worship.
Roni said…
Why is it that all of a sudden, we have a bunch of PAP supporters who are so concerned about the Archbishop and the Catholic Church?

Were these same people as concerned when Archbishop Gregory Yong was "cornered" into accepting Vincent Cheng's confession in 1987, even when he was not ready to do so? Even though he had promised his priests that he will not give any conclusive response without consulting with them first.

Were they concerned that those arrested, tortured, and detained without trial were mostly innocent Catholics, either working for or volunteering in the Church?

And why are they not as concerned that these same Catholics are being victimized all over again?

Are these people not concerned that Archbishop Nicholas Chia has no freedom to support these people who are part of the Catholic flock and had to withdraw his support because of government interference?

I suspect that they are not really too concerned about the welfare of the Archbishop, Nicholas Chia or the Catholic Church, which I am part of. Their concern really is for the PAP, which they so worship.
dotseng said…
I think there is a big gaping hole here that many of you may not have factored into the reasoning. Without this one detail. It is impossible to clarify and clear up things satisfactorily. And it is simply this, WHAT was in the letter written by the CEO of the catholic church to function 8.

In my mind that is the pertinent. As for Henson, Alex et al, you all have to ask, have they read this letter. If not. How could they have even formed a sensible opinion to abt this matter.

It is really very simple. Remember the truth will set you free.

Darkness 2012

p.s great post Ravi that puts everything in the correct perspective and scale. As for Henson don't worry bat her. No one in blogoland takes her seriously except Andrew Loh. Keep up the good work!
Daniel said…
Onedimensionalman. Read Alex Au's original article where he mentions the relationship between this incident and the AWARE one.
dotseng said…
onedimensionalman,

Please don't talk through you poopchute. No one is being anti-establishment here! No one here is trying to mix politics with religion! It's all happening in your confused brain.

What surprises me is you seem to be able to read everyone's mind from Ravi to even the Pope using your ESP skills and very little else.

The issue as I see it is very simple. Someone wrote a letter. Someone received the letter. Someone found out about the existence of this letter and blogged about. Someone got worried and called up the person who penned the letter. And now everyone is back tracking.

That is all there is to it. If those people want to backtrack that is fine. But please don't pin the blame on innocent people whose only crime is to receive a letter.

Only understand this very clearly onedimensionalman - there is a fatal flaw in your entire logic.As whatever you have to say can never erase one reality.

What was the motivation for writing the letter in the first place?

Had that letter not been sent out. Then none of us would even be wasting bandwidth in blogoland talking about this useless matter.

Never forget how the fire storm started onedimensionalman.

Do try to have a nice Sunday.

Darkness 2012