How painfully long has it been?
Our armoured personnel carriers remained imprisoned in Hong Kong. Despite numerous exhortations and entreaties, the Chinese government has dug in its heels, built its trenches and cocked every kind of a snook it conceivably could at Singapore. It can do that, as all too often they are caught in a time warp of might being right.
If Beijing does not get its way, it resorts to force than through the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as how the Philippines found when it learned of some stolen shoals.
Just what else should Singapore do?
Rather strangely we are not seeing the same kind of full-blooded and loud street protests we saw in 1987 when US diplomats led by Hank Hendrickson and his cluster of ‘confederates’ meddled in our internal politics. Then it was brouhaha par excellence. The Americans were not just derided in the press but also in parliament and in the grapevine of the nation.
All of these brings to mind what Bobby Sands, the late Irish Republican freedom fighter did in the late 1970s and early 1980s. By leading a hunger strike that caught the imagination of the British public and the attention of the world, he and some of his fellow strikers were out to prove the brutality of the British government’s handling of the then so-called Irish ‘problem’.
But the British government led by Margaret Thatcher stood defiant and stonewalled every one of Sands’s tactics and his fellow comrades.
Soon what was to follow was a firestorm of roundhouses directed at Whitewall and their unwillingness to negotiate over the Irish question.
Closer to home what has not been lost among many of us is of how Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) chief Chee Soon Juan heralded in the city-state’s first-ever hunger strike in 1992.
Chee’s strike was against the unfair dismissal he suffered at the hands of his then bosses in the NUS. Like Sands before him ten years, Chee too fired up the imagination of our country because it soon became the much talked upon colloquy. Chee did win traction. Chee did get noticed by all media organizations. Chee did win sympathy. And Chee did score the points he wanted.
Perhaps somebody should begin with a hunger strike before the Chinese Embassy. And who would be better than the man who has done it all. If he is not able to, he sure can get some with his coterie of soulmates to get the Chinese to their knees!
Who knows. It may just work!