Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

Posted on Mar 3 2016 - 5:11pm by Redwire Singapore

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This story is part 5 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

JOHN WONG: The police killed the boy through intimidation. The evil government led by a conniving Home Affairs Minister is trying to sweep this crime against humanity under the rug.

The Online Citizen is a rogue one man show politicising a young boy’s death to rouse anger against the government. Terry Xu is a bastard dog that barks for foreign agencies, maybe the KGB or CIA.

That teenage child molester deserved to die. His parents are no saints.

So many accusations going about nowadays. What’s worse is some people actually believe such rubbish and turn a 14-year-old’s suicide into a catastrophe of global proportions.

It isn’t.

But I’ve been asked this question many times over the past weeks – whose side are you on? My answer has always been that with the facts not ascertained and everything still speculative, there’s no way to take sides. That’s got many people angry and calling me an uncompassionate bastard.

I still stand by that.

We don’t know what transpired between the boy and the investigating officer, whether he was strong-armed or treated with kids’ gloves.

We don’t know what other troubles the boy was going through before he decided to end it all, and suicide by all means isn’t a one-off decision but a result of depression or helplessness over a period of time as all studies on suicide will tell you.

And we don’t know whether Terry Xu is a KGB agent – although I would bet my last can of Tiger he isn’t.

So why has so much public anger been amassed?

For one, it’s an emotional reaction, something which our Home Affairs Minister seems incapable of exhibiting.

Also, could this be a sign of a bigger social problem – the erosion of trust in our public institutions? In this case, the police?

That’s what happened in the United States, with the Baltimore shooting. White cop shot black kid in error. Riots took place to protest an injustice which was blamed on racism. That’s because of the history of abuse of authority along racial lines in the US. Baltimore was a tipping point – a year before, another innocent black kid, Trayvon Martin, was shot and killed by a white man, supposedly in self-defence. The Florida court let the shooter off the hook because of a “Stand Your Ground” Law. People had had enough.

Is the death of Benjamin Lim Singapore’s “Baltimore”? Hardly. I don’t think the police here have done that bad a job, barring the Little India Riot, that public anger has mounted against them to such an extent.

Instead, I think it’s down to a lack of trust in government bodies.

We’ve seen how a public hospital can attempt to cover up Hepatitis C infections in its wards until it had no choice but to show hand (hello, SGH).

We’ve seen the lapses and corruption that take place in grassroots organisations by people in power whose purpose is to serve the people.

We’ve seen how government red-tape can let the public down even when it comes to a simple task of rat-catching.

It’s a build-up, and such incidents simply sway public confidence such that people can’t even trust the police to do their job “without fear or favour, regardless of race, language or religion”.

After all this, someone is going to drop me a message (for sure) and ask “So whose side are you on? The gahmen? TOC? The family?”

Again, neither. Let’s wait for the coroner’s inquiry. Lest we forget, Benjamin Lim hasn’t even been found guilty of molest yet.

I’ve enough trust in the system to believe the coroner’s inquiry will turn up the answers we seek, though it will take some time. Too much speculation has been made over too little facts. Patience is a virtue.

What the government needs to seriously consider is how to restore faith in our public service. Anger doesn’t take place in a vacuum.

And sometimes, Mr Shanmugam, a soft word turns away anger.

This story is part 5 of a 5 part series on the Death of Benjamin Lim. Read more:

Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 1: The Cold, Hard, Emotionless Facts
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 2: Making Sense of a Life Lost and Loss of Innocence
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 3: Did Police Pull the Trigger on the Teen’s Fatal Leap?
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 4: The Importance of a Fourth Estate in Singapore
Death of Benjamin Lim Pt 5: Whose Side are You On?

 

 

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