M Ravi, the bastion of Singapore free speech being kicked around like political football

24 Jul

Set up on 1st September 2000 as Singapore’s free speech area or “speak freely but police is watching”, Speakers’ Corner has proven to be the epitome of Singapore’s unique brand of democracy. After the the outrage at minibonds scam, anti-death penalty and anti-ISA demonstrations at Hong Lim Park, local human rights lawyer M Ravi has brought the govt’s vision of a “free speech area” to a new height. On 22nd July 2012, M Ravi organised a two hour solo party complete with tents, music, drama and dance to lament the various injustices that has been inflicted on his life.

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Excerpt from Yahoo News Sg:

On Sunday, Ravi said that he would be suing Wong and the Society on Monday for an apology and for damages against his reputation that will  “exceed hundreds thousands of dollars, or millions” because he had a “huge reputation internationally”.

Calling Wong a “cow dung lawyer from Law Society” who had “sh*t in his pants”, he said that he would “forgive but will never forget”.

Ravi also launched into several other bizarre rants, reserving choice words for several prominent politicians and the Law Society.

“I come from a generation of samurais, 369,” said Ravi, before challenging former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew to meet him “one-on-one”, “go fly kite” and telling the 30-member crowd to “stand up for Singapore.”

He also expressed his anger with opposition politicians, calling Workers Party’s Low Thia Kiang, Sylvia Lim, and Chen Show Mao “cow dungs” for what he said was their “lack of support” for his client, Mdm Vellama Marie Muthu.

Ravi is representing Muthu in her campaign for the Court to declare that the Prime Minister does not have unfettered discretion in deciding when to call by-elections.

Ravi’s talk at the Speakers Corner started at about 3pm and finished shortly after 5pm, despite an earlier media invite stating it would go on until 8pm. Most of his time was spent talking about his history and childhood.

Claiming to be from a secret society called “Jalan Kayu 369”, Ravi told the audience he had a Taiwanese father who looked like notorious Hong Kong pop star Edison Chen before ranting about abusive Indian fathers and the suffering of his late mother, whom he credits as his inspiration.

He also peppered his speeches with strange statements, announcing at one point that “Hot is cold, cold is hot, Yin is Yang, and I look young – that is why Hallelujah and Praise the Lord”, eliciting strange looks from curious passers-by.

Ravi also spoke of his intention to “return to New York” where there are “vampires in the Empire State Building”.

When reporters asked about his mental condition at the end of his talk, Ravi asserted that he was “fine”, calling the media “stupid” for raising the issue and refused to take any more questions.

I do sincerely hope that the interested persons mentioned above whom might have been hurt by his speech would not hastily sue M Ravi as he is suffering from bi-polar disorder. CID’s Secret Society Branch should also take his words with a large dollop of salt. Perhaps in his unique case, freedom indeed does not come with responsibility.

His most recent performance at Hong Lim followed recent allegations that he had verbally abused a TV producer at his office and supposedly flew into a rage on two occasions at a Hindu Temple in Chinatown just as his associates sent him to see his psychiatrist.

Support has been coming in for M Ravi with admirers of his legal work thanking him for his passionate artistic performance, and his SDP ally urging others not to kick him around like a political football. M Ravi is perhaps stretched out by his high case load, namely the Hougang By-election case, the drug mules on death row, SDP’s illegal assembly case and Reform Party’s Kenneth Jayaretnam case on the IMF loan.

But let’s not forget M Ravi has been legal counsel for SDP as early as 2008 and has helped them on many different cases/causes as well as joined them for their various street activities including election campaigning. Indeed, he should be resting, taking on less cases and not be kicked around like a political football like he has been all this while.

One can only wring in peculiarity why M Ravi would call WP MPs “cow dung” for their lack of support during the Hougang By-Election case while his allies from SDP and RP continue to trumpet his heroics. For who would take on these important opposition cases for Singapore politics? [Come to think of it, WP already has Chen Show Mao and Pritam Singh as legal counsels for their party.]

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M Ravi at SDP Rally in GE 2006

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Back to the case of Law Society’s Wong Siew Hong turning up during the Hougang By-election trial to inform the Judge of the letter from M Ravi’s psychiatrist. I have blogged earlier that it was Kenneth Jayaretnam that made the letter public. Persons who have attended the trial would not have knew about the contents of the letter as demonstrated by Jeanette Chong Aruldoss’ note.

Richard Wan of TRE has clarified on my blog that M Ravi gave permission to KJ to post the letter online. It was not leaked by KJ. And since Richard was running a piece to air M Ravi’s views, the letter should be taken down without any further explanation. Question is, would Richard need to run a story if KJ did not post the letter online?

But as we can see, is posting the letter online in the best interests of M Ravi? A letter that detailed his mental capacity and questioned his ability to practice? Was M Ravi clear or muddle-headed when he asked KJ to post the letter? Would you, in the position of KJ, still post the letter online? Or, in the best interests of M Ravi, speak to close associates and seek advice?

Now M Ravi wants to seek damages from Law Society and Wong, but if the public did not know about the contents of the letter until KJ posted it, who should bear the brunt of causing damage to M Ravi’s reputation?

It’s funny in political football, how one is constantly confused by who is the kicker and where the ball is.

Mr Ravi, you should rest, take care and all the best.

Excerpt from ST: Mr Ravi wants them to compensate him for the damage done to his professional reputation by Mr Wong’s actions and to make a public apology.

He claimed that Mr Wong was ‘acting under the directions and instructions of the LSS and/or his own volition and initiative’ when he appeared at the High Court on Monday morning and afternoon, before the presiding judges and state counsels, ‘thereby publishing the content of the Letter beyond the scope of the intrinsic confidentiality of the Letter’.

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3 Responses to “M Ravi, the bastion of Singapore free speech being kicked around like political football”

  1. Yew Soon July 24, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    So far, it is clear that Ravi is the football. As for the footballers, quite confusing, got wear white, yellow, and red sometimes with a dash of blue. Not sure yet.

  2. ape@kinjioleaf July 24, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    I raised an eyebrow.

    Can anyone, not relating to a case in anyway, walk into the court and present something just like that? Is there no due process?

    I speculate further.

    Let’s say M. Ravi is suffering bipolar disorder or some psychological problems, how does it affect his practice? Is any of his clients complaining? That he has not represented them in their best interest? Did he ever do a song and dance in the court? Has he in anyway, behave irrationally in his profession?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Daily SG: 25 July 2012 | The Singapore Daily - July 25, 2012

    […] Thoughts of a Cynical Investor: Ravi cannot be serious? – Unbranded Bread n Butter: M Ravi, the bastion of Singapore free speech being kicked around like political football – Andrew Loh: The man who loves the law, the spirit and […]

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