How Does Chee Soon Juan Support His Family All These Years?

If you read my blog, then you would know that I am not a fan of the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP)’s CHEE SOON JUAN. Am mildly annoyed that he’s gonna be contesting in the BUKIT BATOK BY-ELECTION. No matter what some people tell you, Singapore IS a democratic country where you can vote who you like into Parliament. So yea, come 7th May, the residents of Bukit Batok will decide if we have to live with Chee Soon Juan’s antics in Parliament for the next few years *SIGHS*

What to do, it will be the will of the people.

Anyway, did you know Zaobao scored a mighty interesting (and quite telling!) interview with Chee some 5-6 years ago? In the spirit of fairness (or at least as much fairness as I can muster in this case), I should also let you know that he protested after the article was published. He claimed that the reporter had written about him through tainted lens. Go google for his statement if you’re interested, but basically he didn’t deny much or anything at all.

SDP's Chee Soon Juan at a lunchtime rally during GE2015 (Image source: TODAYonline)
SDP’s Chee Soon Juan at a lunchtime rally during GE2015 (Image source: TODAYonline)

Since he’s famously said these words during the GE2015 lunchtime rally last year, then it makes sense to share the 2010 interview since presumably, he’s still the same man.

‘Reputation is temporary, character is permanent’

It’s late already in the night and I’ve to work tomorrow, so I won’t translate the whole article, will just touch on the part that bothers me the most. Yes, it’s about the money, money, money.


Partial translation of the Zaobao interview

When asked if he regrets going into politics, he’d said, “Absolutely not. I’m not saying this to sound like some hero. I really do love teaching and research, that’s my first love. But to fight for democracy for Singapore, now that’s a bigger and more pressing mission. I have no regrets whatsoever.”

He was declared a bankrupt in 2006, and the family now lives in a three-room HDB flat in Toa Payoh. His wife HUANG CHIHMEI is a full-time homemaker and she takes care of their three children, aged 10, 7 and 5.

How does the couple support the family when both of them do not work?

If both husband and wife do not work, how then do you support the family? When asked about their sources of income, he said it’s mostly from the sale of his books, and they accept financial help from relatives occasionally too.

“We lead a simple life. Whatever extra resources I have, I put them into fighting for democracy.”

Rumours have it that he is funded by foreign organizations, and that is why he is able to carry on his fight for democracy and even engage in civil disobedience and other activities in Singapore without much worry. After much probing and asking, he said, “I’m an academic, and will sometimes receive funding from foreign sources. My books have won awards too, and I also participate in research projects overseas.”

Research of what nature? Are they about democracy? He remained vague and all he would say was, “Erm, maybe something like human behaviour.”


Look, this man has not worked for over a decade. His books and research work alone can feed him and his family for so mannnnny years? Really meh? Back in the earlier days (yes, when there was just the generation who remembers his antics), that many people would buy his books? Really really meh? Besides, award-winning is not the same as best-selling, right?

And, why so vague and reluctant to talk about the research projects he had worked on?

And the scariest part? He has not come outright to deny he receives foreign funding.

Did you know that there are liberal grounds, human rights organizations and bodies that promote democracy who GO AROUND THE WORLD FUNDING ACTIVITIES AND INDIVIDUALS LIKE CHEE?

This is a man who has long declared his life-long mission is to fight for democracy, and his past antics of going on hunger strikes, yelling at ESM Goh and shouting murder and rapists at LKY and PM Lee in court are all in the name of democracy… I would not put it past him to make this democracy fight his ultimate aim in Parliament.

Do we really want the Western ideals of total freedom of speech, of expression, and liberal rights… lock stock and barrel here? Are they really suitable for Asian societies? Who’s to say the Western ideals of human rights should be ours too? Is the state of their societies better than ours? And better by whose or what standards? Whoooo decides these standards? Seriously, if their system is so good, why are so many Western societies in so much trouble?

In my mind, democracy is relative and it’s a journey whose pace and ‘rules’ should be set by us, the Singaporeans. Not by some extremist who is funded by foreign sources. As a society, we shall decide where we wanna go, and at what pace we wanna go at. Whether we move more towards the left, the right, or stay centre, it’s really our own business. We don’t need no foreign groups to come tell us what’s wrong and what’s right. No. Just no.

Back to Chee, one nagging thought that bugs me is; Who, really, is this man? And if elected into Parliament, whose voice would he be representing? Do you really think he will be speaking for the residents of Bukit Batok? Or would he be the voice for his foreign masters, or whoever have been keeping his family and him alive all these years?

Don’t get me wrong. I know I am generally pro-establishment, but harlow, that doesn’t mean I agree with every damn thing that the G comes up with. And it also doesn’t mean I am for single-party dominance. Surprise, surprise, I actually think diversity in Parliament is good, provided the MPs are of certain caliber lah.

It’s not even the SDP I have an issue with, it’s Chee whom I cannot trust. The rules of foreign funding of local political parties are clear. The POLITICAL DONATIONS ACT bans political parties and organizations from receiving foreign funding. That’s for the very obvious reason of sovereignty. Small we may be, but we’re slave to no foreign masters and we make our own rules.

So while the SDP cannot and does not accept foreign funds, Chee as an individual CAN receive foreign funds for various reasons and purposes. Sure, maybe it’s for research, for invitation to give talks overseas, etc. But the sources of those funds he’s received, the uses of the funds…. and whether there are expectations, express or implied, that come along with his acceptance of the funds… we don’t know, do we? Look, I’m not saying he HAS accepted political donations, coz I have no idea.

But that’s the thing, nobody knows.

I don’t know about you, but it’s just near-unimaginable to me how the Chees can NOT work for years and years. I’m not the only one wondering, you know… Go read THE QUESTIONS that many Singaporeans have been dying to ask Chee.


Anyway, here’s a (sorta related) article from some years back about whether foreign activists should fund local civil grounds. Pretty good read, and whoa, it’s by The New Paper?! And, some of the people mentioned in the article have got SDP LINKS too.



Anyway, will leave you with a repost of the entire Zaobao interview.






游润恬 (2010-02-28)






































民主党的作风比较强硬,工人党的作风比较中庸。几年前一个对政党政治提出尖锐批评的“大戏党”(Wayang Party)网站出现,不客气地指工人党根本是在作戏,不是真正在搞反对党政治。

大戏党后来改名为淡马锡评论(Temasek Review),对其他反对党的批评也有所收敛,不过网主的身份依然神秘。针对大戏党网站是由民主党幕后操纵,目的是打击其他反对党并提升民主党地位的传言,徐顺全矢口否认。













(Source: Zaobao + TOC)
(Source: Zaobao + TOC)

Related Reading
Straits Times article on the Zaobao interview
A Look at SDP’s 30th Anniversary in 2010
The BS is Strong in This One
Did I Just Blog about Chee Soon Juan Again?

Leave a Reply