In remembrance of a Singapore Patriot – Joshua Benjamin Jeyaretnam (1926 – 2008)

Just another weblog

Tribute to Mr. J B Jeyaretnam

Posted by jbjmemorial on October 2, 2008

Someone sent an e-mail to me, giving this tribute to Mr. J B Jeyaretnam. I only know Mr. Jeyare

As a kid who hungrily devoured all that the flat media supplied at the time, and ignorant of their propagandistic nature, I thought JBJ had dishonourable intentions – a fool who was always exposed by his powerful nemesis. It took several years before I realised that I was the fool.
By then, I was rooting for his entry into parliament and it was with great joy that I read the headlines “JBJ takes Anson”. It was a historic breakthrough not appropriately celebrated by the media. JBJ had achieved the unthinkable!
Once whilst walking down the stairs of the Subordinate Courts to the taxi stand, I noticed that the drivers in the waiting taxis had suddenly almost in synchrony gotten out of their vehicles, shouting and waving greetings towards my direction. I turned my head to see none other than JBJ waving back at them with a big warm smile pasted on his face.

I witnessed how when he reached the taxi stand, all the drivers rushed to shake his hand, many thanking him for his work. It was a genuine and uncontrived demonstration of true admiration and warm respect; quite unlike – in fact in contrast to – the kind shown by members of certain residents’ committees towards their elected leaders. I knew then that I was in the presence of a true people’s leader.

The first-time when I had the privilege of witnessing first-hand in open court the mesmerising tone of his voice and the fearless manner he fought, it left me in no doubt that standing before me was an extraordinary man of upright constitution. If you had also noticed his poorly-pressed suit and unpolished worn-out brown leather shoes, you would have fathomed the real depth of this man who must have found preening himself just to look good an utterly waste of bloody time!


JBJ was the man amongst men

Nothing I have said and can say would do justice to the real quality of this man. Today is a very sad day for his family and friends. But, as a country, it was already a very sad day when we allowed him to be mistreated and tormented by his nemesis. We stood by and did nothing.
Knowing JBJ, he has forgiven us. But can we forgive ourselves?



Source: Tan Kin Lian 


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