Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chia Thye Poh - longest serving political prisoner in the world

And so I never found out about earlier PAP opponents, like Chia Thye Poh, who probably holds the world record for being the longest serving political prisoner, locked away without trial for 23 years before being “freed” to live a hermit’s life on Sentosa for another nine years. Till today I don’t know much about him. But I no longer view him to be the dangerous communist that, for decades, I was made to believe he was.

The Internet did introduce me, however, to Dr Lim Hock Siew, Singapore’s second longest serving political prisoner after Chia, imprisoned for 19 years from 1963 to 1982. That happened only last year. First, I read an article about him – at The Online Citizen – and then I watched a banned video of him speaking at the book launch of The Fajar Generaion.

Like Vincent Cheng, he, too, turned out to be a mild and gentle man. And greatly intelligent too. Nah. Dr Lim was no terrorist. He merely disagreed with Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP.

How many Vincent Chengs and Dr Lims are there in Singapore’s political history? Tens? A couple of hundred? Never mind the actual number. One is already too many.

Below are archived pictures of the arrest of Chia Thye Poh and his stay in Sentosa Island.

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