SINGAPORE: Local writer and activist Kirsten Han has shared her disconcerting experiences of potentially being under surveillance while engaged in activism activities in the country, as some online have been questioning who leaked the video of two former opposition politicians having inappropriate contact.
The Workers’ Party (WP) senior members Leon Perera reportedly had an extramarital affair sometime around the 2020 General Election, and the relationship ended some months later.
However, a video of the pair holding hands emerged only on Monday (17 July), mere hours before the ruling party confirmed the resignations of two of their own MPs after their affair was exposed.
In a thought-provoking post published on Thursday (20 July), Ms Han shed light on the unsettling reality faced by activists, particularly those involved in opposition politics, who often find themselves being surreptitiously monitored.
Ms Han claimed that it had become widely known within the activist community that they are occasionally and not so discreetly filmed by unknown individuals. Ms Han pointed out that these unidentified individuals do not reveal their affiliations, making it challenging for activists to ascertain their intentions.
The incidents Ms Han recounted span over a decade, leaving her and other activists uneasy about their safety and privacy. One of her earliest encounters was over ten years ago when she delivered a clemency petition for death row inmate Kho Jabing.
As she stood near the Istana’s side gate, Ms Han noticed two men across the street filming their group.
Another troubling incident occurred a couple of years ago when the sister of another death row inmate went to the Plaza Singapura to deliver a letter appealing for mercy.
In this instance, Ms Han observed two men at the smoking corner of the plaza who seemed to be loitering rather than smoking. Suspiciously, they held their phones at an angle that suggested they were capturing footage of the event.
Earlier this year, Ms Han and some friends were waiting outside Changi Prison for death row prisoner Tangaraju’s family. They noticed a man dressed casually, as if running errands, standing across the road from them.
What struck Ms Han as odd was the man’s prolonged presence, not buying anything or waiting for a ride, but seemingly focused on recording them with his phone camera. Even when she tried to interact with him, he moved to obscure his face, indicating a potential attempt to maintain anonymity while continuing to record or photograph.
Although Ms Han refrained from directly linking these incidents to the leaked video involving the former Workers’ Party (WP) members, she emphasized that such experiences of being filmed and surveilled are familiar to opposition politicians and activists.
She added that the general public may remain largely unaware of these occurrences, raising concerns about privacy and potential infringements on civil liberties.
Send in your scoops to firstname.lastname@example.org