27 June 2008

Father & Son: Singaporean plaintiffs

Lee Kuan Yew is widely admired in Singapore as an elder statesman and founder, with the formal title Minister Mentor.

His son, Lee Hsien Loong, is the current prime minister.

Two years ago, the Lees as plaintiffs successfully sued Chee Soo Juan and Chee Siok Chin for defamation. The Chees are brother and sister, and members of the Singapore Democratic Party. The lawsuit concerned an article in the party newsletter that was interpreted by the court to imply corruption on the part of the government.

In Singapore, alas, it seems that it's rather easy for government officials to win such defamation suits. The real action occurs in the damages hearing, which is underway now. Why now, two years later? I don't know, I'm just trying to work my way through this myself.

Anyway, Chee Siok Chin, the sisterly Chee, is representing herself at the hearing, and had the chance to confront her accuser, cross-examining the prime minister. You can find a partial transcript via this wonderful thing we call blogspot.

It begins with Chee telling the prime minister that his lawyers has been making him "look bad" by objecting to every question. Then she goes on to ask such straightforward questions as "how many libel suits have you brought in the last four years" to which the lawyer in question objects. Proving her point.

I enjoyed reading it: and I'll be keeping an eye on the situation, trying to understand it better.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.