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The State v. Subhas Nair: Rap, Right, Race and Reckoning

To jump to the relevant sections:

First Incident

On 29 July 2019, in response to an electronic payments ad featuring Mediacorp actor Dennis Chew in brownface, Subhas Nair and Preeti Nair released a rap parody / music video titled 'K. Muthusamy' that quickly went viral, bringing testimony, call-outs and discussions of experiences of racism in Singapore to light. According to a statement published by the Singapore Police Force: "On 29 July 2019, the Police received a report of a rap video that was circulating on social media platforms, and commenced investigations." On 14 August 2019, the duo were given a 24-month Conditional Warning.

According to Singapore Legal Advice, "a condition of the conditional warning may require an individual to not commit any offence for a period of time" – i.e. two years, in Subhas' case. If this is breached, "the authorities have the right to prosecute the individual for the original offence that he had been warned for, and also for any fresh offences committed".

Second Incident

On 22 July 2020, City Revival in Singapore released a video featuring "local artiste Joanna Theng and City Revival founder Jaime Wong", equating abortion rights to "deceptions by Satan" and expressing that the LGBT movement is "one of the ways that Satan – the spiritual force – has influenced the physical realm to manifest in ways that insult and show contempt for God". The original video has since been removed, but an anonymous third-party has re-uploaded it onto YouTube, with the additional note disclaiming that "City Revival attempted to silence this recount of the controversy by contacting YouTube to remove this video on the basis of "copyright infringement"".

On 25 July 2020, in response, Subhas posted: "If two Malay Muslims made a video promoting Islam and saying the kind of hateful things these Chinese Christians said, ISD would have been at the door before they even hit 'upload'."

This was Subhas' first breach of his two-year Conditional Warning.


Multiple articles published by Singapore news outlets in 2021 and 2022 covering this second incident omit the specific context of what Subhas was responding to, i.e. the City Revival video. In their respective articles covering this incident, Mothership's journalist Syahindah Ishak and Channel News Asia's (CNA) journalist Lydia Lam both reported the City Revival video simply as "a video of Chinese Christians who had made hateful comments against another community", in the exact same phrasing. Coconuts Singapore, meanwhile, reported this as "a video of Chinese-Christians making hateful comments".

However, articles published by Singapore news outlets in 2023 do cite the City Revival video as context, albeit not in detail. This includes recent coverage by Mothership's journalist Matthias Ang and The Straits Times' journalist Shaffiq Alkhatib. Lydia Lam has also referred to the City Revival video not by name, but as "a viral video by two Christians who linked the gay pride movement to Satan".

What is not mentioned by mainstream media is as important to take note of as what is mentioned. The links between events and cases drawn, as well as the timing at which certain details are concealed or fleshed out, are important to pay attention to for media literacy, and to evaluate how the public is primed towards or away from noticing specific connections. Why was the City Revival video being the necessary context to which Subhas was responding relatively glossed over in media coverage in 2021 and 2022, versus in 2023? How do media attention and strategic timing work under statecraft?

Third Incident

Lydia Lam reported that on 15 October 2020, in response to the infamous 2019 Orchard Towers murder case: "Nair allegedly wrote on Instagram: "Calling out racism and Chinese privilege = two year conditional warning and smear campaign in the media. Actually conspiring to murder an Indian man = Half the sentence and 'You're having a baby soon right? Boy or girl?' Do you actually think a brown person would get asked these type of questions? This place is just not for us".

This was Subhas' second breach of his two-year Conditional Warning.

Fourth Incident

On 11 March 2021, according to an article, while he was "already being investigated by the police over the Orchard Towers comments", Subhas "allegedly displayed a cartoon at The Substation during a stage play entitled: Tabula Rasa – Album Exploration. The cartoon contained the same text he wrote on Instagram over the Orchard Towers incident."

This was Subhas' third breach of his two-year Conditional Warning.


The context behind this appears to be about Chan Jia Xing, one of the seven individuals linked to the 2019 Orchard Towers murder case. Lydia Lam reported on Chan Jia Xing in an article headlined 'Man originally charged with murder in Orchard Towers case gets conditional warning for reduced charge'.

According to the article, Chan Jia Xing was represented by Invictus Law Corporation's Josephus Tan, Cory Wong and Shane Yeo.

On Josephus Tan

Josephus Tan founded Invictus Law Corporation in 2017 according to an article by Cru Singapore. Cru Singapore, registered in 1972 as Singapore Campus Crusade for Christ, takes after Bill Bright and Vonette Zachary Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC). CCC has been linked to exposés, such as The Washington Post's 2021 article 'Billionaire at the center of a Wall Street fiasco gives millions to evangelical ministries'.

Salt&Light Singapore has referred to Josephus Tan as the 'Prodigal son who defends murderers in the courtroom of grace', as the first article in a two-part series about him.

The second article published by Salt&Light Singapore is headlined 'The promise that led him to defend Annie Ee's abusers'.

On Annie Ee, Kenneth Koh and Lucien Wong

Annie Ee was a waitress with an "intellectual disability" who moved in to live with her friend Tan Hui Zhen and her friend's husband Pua Hak Chuan in their flat in Woodlands, in late 2013, after being estranged from her family. Although the initial arrangement was for Annie to help with her own share of house chores, the situation shifted into an abusive dynamic: Annie was made to surrender her entire salary each month, and was only given back S$30 to S$50 in weekly allowance.

According to Coconuts Singapore, the abuse started in August 2014, beginning with Annie being physically slapped and hit with weapons such as a bamboo stick and a dustbin, while also enduring emotional abuse. This worsened into daily beatings that resulted in bruises and blisters. Annie endured eight months of violent torture up until the day before her death on 13 April 2015, which Tan Hui Zhen tried to claim as suicide. In reality, Annie's body was found to have "12 fractured ribs and seven fractured vertebrae, a ruptured stomach and a body crowded with blisters and bruises" in an autopsy report.

On 14 April 2015, Tan Hui Zhen's "family members engaged counsel", including Josephus Tan, who was then working at Fortis Law Corporation.

On 15 April 2015, Tan Hui Zhen and Pua Hak Chuan were remanded.

While Tan Hui Zhen and Pua Hak Chuan were "initially charged with murder" (which warrants either life imprisonment or the death penalty), in the end, "Josephus' representation as their lawyer helped reduce the main charge to "voluntarily causing grievous hurt"", according to the aforecited Salt&Light Singapore article.

On 27 November 2017, according to an article by The Straits Times, Tan Hui Zhen "pleaded guilty to two counts each of causing grievous hurt and causing grievous hurt with a weapon", whereas Pua Hak Chuan "pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt and two counts of causing grievous hurt with a weapon".

The article also states:

Tan's lawyer, Mr Josephus Tan, described the case as one of a "mismatch of expectations" between the parties. He said Tan's mental health was affected after she had suffered three miscarriages.

According to a TODAY Online article published on the same day:

Tan was found by Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist Kenneth Koh to have had moderate to severe depression at the time of the offences. She was found to have borderline personality disorder, but was not of unsound mind during the offences.
The prosecution argued Tan's condition cannot amount to a substantial sentencing discount.

We understand that Dr Koh Wun Wu Kenneth Gerard (also known as Kenneth Koh) is a psychiatrist who "will oblige requests to write whatever either the Institute of Mental Health's (IMH) management or the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) instructs or asks him to".

IMH's Kenneth Koh is also the psychiatrist that Nagaenthran a/l K. Dharmalingam "was referred to for a forensic psychiatric evaluation" in 2013. Kenneth Koh "gave his considered view that Nagaenthran "had no mental illness at the time of the offence" and was "not clinically mentally retarded"", and ultimately "concluded that Nagaenthran's borderline range of intelligence "would not have diminished his ability to appreciate that the package that was taped to his thigh would most likely have contained drugs and that bringing this to Singapore was illegal"", according to Malaysiakini's journalist Hafiz Hassan.

Also on the same day of 27 November 2017, Neo Chuan Yi launched a change.org petition 'Singaporean couple TORTURES intellectually disabled woman to DEATH'. The Online Citizen reported that the petition received over 18,000 signatures in just two days.

On 1 December 2017, Tan Hui Zhen was sentenced to a jail term of 16.5 years. Pua Hak Chuan was sentenced to a jail term of 14 years, alongside 14 strokes of the cane. On 18 December 2017, in an article titled 'AGC explains why couple not charged with murder of tortured tenant', TODAY Online reported that a statement by the Attorney-General's Chambers "pointed out that the evidence against the couple did not support the charges of murder and culpable homicide".

To further quote the article:

"It is the Prosecutor's duty to only prefer a charge which is supported by evidence...the integrity of the legal system requires that all parties, including the accused, are treated fairly and that cases are prosecuted and decided strictly in accordance with the law and the evidence," said the AGC.
[...] The AGC pointed out on Monday that Ee died from acute fat embolism, based on the evidence of the forensic pathologist, and noted that it was "an unusual occurrence that would not have ordinarily resulted from the injuries inflicted by Pua and Tan".
It added: "As Pua and Tan did not intend to cause Annie's death, and the injuries they inflicted would not ordinarily cause death, the offences of murder and culpable homicide cannot be proved against them.
"The Prosecution therefore proceeded against both Pua and Tan with charges of voluntarily causing grievous hurt (which the law defines as including death) with a dangerous weapon. These charges reflect the most serious offences committed by the two accused, as supported by the evidence."

On 8 January 2018, The Straits Times posted an article titled 'Prosecution will not be influenced by vocal minority, but be more open in communication, says A-G'. The article reflects Attorney General Lucien Wong's public stance on the Annie Ee case.

Who is the 'vocal minority'? It is constantly summoned as a silencing tool in attempts to end further thought and discussion. Yet it seems to mostly apply to and double-down on bodies/peoples who are implicitly (or explicitly) deemed sub-human or lesser, who have experienced immense structural violence brought to public attention either by themselves or others, and who have dared to even remotely harbour the hope of fighting back and winning. Subhas Govin Prabhakar Nair. Annie Ee Yu Lian. Vickreman Harvey Chettiar.

The pains of enduring the brutal and exhausting weight of power asymmetry on a structural level, where all odds feel stacked, are observable in the landmark Public Prosecutor v. Parti Liyani case as well.

Parti Liyani, a migrant domestic worker in Singapore, was "convicted in March 2019 of stealing more than S$30,000 worth of items from ex-Changi Airport Group chairman Liew Mun Leong and his family". For her trial, Parti was represented pro bono by defence lawyer Anil Narain Balchandani, who fought against Deputy Public Prosecutors Tan Yanying, Marcus Foo Guo Wen and Tan Wee Hao, before District Judge Olivia Low Pei Sze.

According to partiliyani.weebly.com:

Parti Liyani was accused of theft by four members of the Liew family: Liew Mun Leong, Karl Liew (Liew Mun Leong's son), Heather Liew (Karl's wife) and May Liew (Liew Mun Leong's daughter). The victims accused Parti of the theft of approximately 144 items worth approximately $50,856.

While Parti's conviction was eventually overturned on 4 September 2020 by the High Court, this was a difficult and dehumanizing battle:

For almost four years, Parti has fought to prove her innocence. This battle to clear her name led to a State Court trial that stretched over nine months, and included 22 days in court. In March 2019, Parti Liyani was sentenced by District Judge Olivia Low to 26 months in prison.

According to The Online Citizen, Reform Party chief and blogger Kenneth Jeyaretnam alleged that Singapore's Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam had "abused his parliamentary privilege to smear Indonesian national Parti Liyani’s name and cast doubt on the High Court's decision to overturn her conviction on appeal".

BBC News' journalist Yvette Tan reported on the case in 2020, in an article headlined 'Why the case of a maid who battled a millionaire has gripped Singapore'.

So who is the 'vocal minority' that Attorney General Lucien Wong speaks of? When does it apply, and for whose convenience?

On Vickreman Harvey Chettiar and Roger Seah

We remind that Vickreman Harvey Chettiar's second criminal charge (out of the total present four) is a Protection from Harassment Act's (POHA) Section 6(3) charge – Offences in relation to public servant or public service worker.

The context behind this is that on 9 August 2021, Mercury Jamie Alice had committed her anthrax hoax by filing a false police report under her ex-partner's name with the intention of getting her ex-partner arrested by the police, and charged and remanded to the Institute of Mental Health (IMH). The hope was that Mercury's ex-partner would thus be traumatized enough to crawl back to Mercury after a bad break-up. Mercury had approached Harvey for assistance, but Harvey had refused to help on principle. Mercury went ahead with it anyway, and police were able to trace the false report back to her. Mercury was arrested. As mentioned in a previous post, between 16 to 20 August 2021, Mercury, using her main Telegram account, claimed that "during [her] 48 hours in police custody, the cops promised to let [Mercury] off if [she] could give them a bigger fish (i.e. Miss Vickreman Harvey Chettiar) by giving false testimony against her." The relevant police officer who had made this bargain with Mercury is Roger Seah Ming Hui.

On 13 August 2021, Mercury filed false testimony in a police report against Harvey, falsely alleging that Harvey had faked her PTSD from her 2014 rape in IMH and that Harvey had deliberately flipped the marble-topped table at the waiting area in the Supreme Courthouse on 3 February 2020, which led to Harvey's first criminal charge of Vandalism (to be downgraded to Mischief only if Harvey pleads guilty). At this material time, Harvey was still ready to give Mercury the benefit of doubt. Thus, while she felt betrayed by Mercury's false testimony, Harvey nonetheless publicly clarified:

I feel very betrayed by my chosen daughter Mercury, but I do understand that the motive for her actions was born of fear, as she had very recently committed an anthrax hoax offense, and thus had hoped that assisting the AGC to convict me (for intentional destruction of the marble-topped coffee-table on Monday 3 February 2020) may stand her in good stead to ask for a non-custodial sentence for herself; as she is desperate to avoid being incarcerated in a MALE prison environment…
[...] As I am still traumatized from this treachery and am not in a suitable emotional state to assist her with finding resources for her criminal defense and/or mitigation, please reach out to her directly if anyone would like to give assistance to her.

On 15 August 2021, Harvey filed her own police report to dispute Mercury's false testimony. On 2 September 2021, Mercury filed a follow-up police report to retract the false testimony she had submitted on 13 August 2021. Harvey publicly commented:

I'm relieved that Ms Mercury Jamie Alice has chosen to come clean, and I thus will not need to instantiate any proceedings against her so as to disprove her allegations; but as the trust which I had placed in her remains broken and is not so easily repaired, I shall leave her to obtain the psychiatric help that she needs on her own, as well as criminal legal assistance…
I have known Mercury Jamie Alice for exactly 2½ years today, and I'm heartbroken that our relationship has degenerated to its current status, but I nonetheless wish her the best for her future; and shall appeal for anyone who is willing and able to assist her in any way whatsoever to reach out to her directly.

Subsequently, according to Justice4Harvey:

On 7 October 2021, Investigation Officer ("IO") Roger Seah led a team of police officers to Harvey's home in the early afternoon. Harvey was out at this time, so the police team demanded for Harvey's whereabouts from her mother. Her mother did not know, but managed to get in contact with Harvey.
Harvey then corresponded directly with IO Roger Seah. They managed to arrange for a police interview the next day at 2:00 PM. Harvey presumed that the matter was therefore settled, as she would simply be heading down to the police [station] the next day. Yet, for some reason, a few hours later in the evening of the same day, IO Roger Seah sent several police officers to Harvey's home again. Harvey was still not home yet, so the police team demanded for Harvey's whereabouts from her mother once again. This was frustrating and stressful.
On 8 October 2022 (the next day), Harvey attended her police interview at 2:00 PM, just as scheduled.
At the station, Harvey requested for the presence of an Appropriate Adult as she has a document stating the need for this during interviews. Harvey was denied this request.
Harvey then realised that the interview was actually an interrogation, as Mercury had falsely blamed Harvey for Mercury's own anthrax hoax.
Harvey's phone was seized. Harvey declined to disclose her password on the basis of personal electronic privacy. The police then brought her to her home, searched the apartment and seized her computer. Harvey's phone and computer were only returned to her 46 days later. It was overall a horrible experience.

Feeling that police officer Roger Seah Ming Hui had acted unjustly and dishonestly towards her during investigations, Harvey, upset, had thus posted on 15 November 2021, via Instagram story:

@singaporepoliceforce Although I am not personally involved in or capable of such action, I sincerely hope that terrorism will occur in Singapore targeted at the police, the Bedok Police Divisional HQ come to be levelled by such a terrorist act, and the pigs therein, (especially Roger Seah Ming Hui), are roasted in the burning building. May your porcine ghosts never find rest.

On 23 November 2021, Harvey was interrogated about this. In her Cautioned Statement, Harvey wrote:

I had believed that Roger Seah Ming Hui to be corrupt because during my interrogation by him on Friday 8 October 2021, I was surrounded by multiple male officers, in the absence of an Appropriate Adult, and therefore felt oppressed. Thereafter, I was informed at a later date by Mercury Jamie Alice that Roger Seah was corrupt and working with Mercury['s] enemies. I was under this misconception at that time of making the post. If not for this misconception, I would not have made the post.

We note that at this material point of time in 2021, Harvey still viewed Mercury as a victim of the criminal justice system and Mercury's biological family; see Justice4Harvey's 'Harvey x Mercury' series for details on their complicated relationship, as Mercury was ultimately exploitative towards Harvey, if not outright abusive.

In Singapore, it appears that structural violence is a given, and the expected response is one of fear, compliance and surrender. Pleading guilty is a show of remorse: "I am sorry that I have defended and advocated for myself. I am sorry that I have been uncooperative." Deviating from such subservience is met with state persecution – but this only seems to apply to some vocal minorities and not others, despite the differences in the nature of what each are championing.

Individuals such as Subhas, Harvey and Parti are saying: "I am tired of being treated as Other. I am not sub-human. I desire to fight back." Far-right actors such as Carol Loi and Nina Khong are saying: "Allow us to continue to Other. Protect our right, duty and freedom to continue to dehumanize. We desire to fight first." These are not the same in essence – and neither have they been the same in the government's response and treatment.

On statistics, liberation theology, anti-communism and the REAL 'vocal minority'

According to data from the Singapore Census of Population 2020, as categorised according to the Chinese-Malay-Indian-Others (CMIO) model, the racial distribution of Singapore's resident population comprises 74.3% Chinese, 13.5% Malay, 9.0% Indian and 3.2% Others. Meanwhile, the same report indicates that based on data from Singapore residents aged 15 years and above, 31.1% self-identified as Buddhists, 8.8% as Taoists, 18.9% as Christians, 15.6% as Muslims, 5.0% as Hindus, 0.6% as Other Religions and 20.0% as No Religion.

As a matter of further statistics, Christians make up 28.3% of the resident population with a university degree as their highest qualification attained, which is even greater than Buddhism's 24.9%. Of the resident population who live in 'Condominiums and Other Apartments' as well as 'Landed Properties', 31.6% are Christian and 24.2% are Buddhist. Moreover, of the Singapore resident population that self-identified as Christian, 86.0% are Chinese; for Buddhists, 97.9% are Chinese. What this means is that there are socioeconomic status differences between the majority Chinese Buddhist pool and the majority Chinese Christian pool. The Chinese Christian pool is over-represented in higher education and private housing data – despite self-identified Buddhists (31.1%) comprising the bulk of religious distribution in Singapore, which is 1.64x the size of self-identified Christians (18.9%). This can be visualized here:

In 'Christian identities in Singapore: religion, race and culture between state controls and transnational flows' (2009), Robbie B. H. Goh observes this as well, even over a decade back:

Socio-economic factors also play a part in the reinforcement of these racial and religious identities: Christianity is strongly correlated with households living in the more expensive private property (as opposed to public housing) and who have attained university-level education (who in turn tend to speak predominantly English at home). These socioeconomic factors matter most among the Chinese, who exhibit the greatest degree of variability in religious practice. In general, Christian Chinese form a distinct grouping among the Chinese, exhibiting what might be called ‘elite’ modernized qualities which tend to segregate them from other Chinese who speak Mandarin or Chinese dialects, live in the public housing in common with the majority (about 80%) of Singaporeans, and accordingly practice the ‘‘traditional Chinese religions’’ (Department of Statistics 2000a, p. 1) of Buddhism or Taoism cum traditional Chinese practices such as ancestor worship.

This means that in examining Singapore's local ruling elite, it is not simplistically a matter of identifying an undifferentiated capitalist or property-owning class with the greatest share of liquid or non-liquid assets, but its subdivisions as well.

In 2012, when the City Harvest Church Criminal Breach of Trust Case exploded, Lawrence Khong rallied behind Kong Hee. We note that in the City Harvest Church (CHC) corruption case, the five charged in June 2012 – CHC founder Kong Hee, deputy Tan Ye Peng, church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, investment manager Chew Eng Han, and church management board member John Lam Leng Hung – "posted bail of $500,000 each". How many can afford that?

What can be gleaned from the intersection of race, religion and socioeconomic status is that wealthy, elite Chinese Christians occupy a certain apex in Singapore's resident population. These are not just a minority group by religious measures, but economics, class and politics as well.

Perhaps it needs to be asked: Why do advantaged minorities and disadvantaged minorities in Singapore get different treatment?

It would be reductive and inaccurate to assume that Christianity in Singapore is unequivocally 'far-right'. There are debates and disagreements between churches, between religious authorities, between theologians and among congregations. The Christian far-right is the 'vocal minority' within Christianity as a whole, and this is not a matter of doctrine or belief, but one of outsized power, violence, authority and influence.

Singapore's electoral landscape – i.e. the People's Action Party (PAP) versus the Workers' Party (WP), or, more broadly, 'the PAP establishment' versus 'the establishment' – offers limited political frames of analysis (whether in support or in critique) as well as possibilities of moving beyond such a dichotomy. Yet, the Christian far-right in Singapore is a crucial yet often analytically neglected political force to contend with and factor into any meaningful commentary on Singaporean politics. Academic Terence Chong provides some starting points in 'Filling the Moral Void: The Christian Right in Singapore' (2011) and 'Christian Evangelicals and Public Morality in Singapore' (2014) to understand some of these historical and political dynamics.

Not all individuals participating in or aligning themselves with Christian far-right interests are driven by religious conviction exclusively or primarily. There are extremely well-paid ministers in government who tend to be formerly public sector technocrats or professionals in private practice (e.g. Indranee Thurai Rajah SC), career-minded key appointment holders (e.g. Attorney General Lucien Wong), professionals in private sectors or firms (e.g. Kuah Boon Theng SC of Legal Clinic LLC), aspiring and hopeful theocrats (e.g. Lawrence Khong and Carol Loi), and others with their own sets of priorities as well.

deceptioninthechurch.com observes:

Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) who is the main church distributing cell church materials to the world has a web site which has claimed gold teeth miracles, visions, dreams, etc. in their organization. FCBC may be linked to Lighthouse and involved with Third Wave luminaries like C. Peter Wagner, Jack Deere, Paul Yonggi Cho, Ed Silvoso, and Carlos Annacondia. Annacondia recently visited Singapore and is supported by many charismatic churches including Third Wave churches which have been influenced and penetrated by these groups. When Rodney Howard-Browne and Robert Schuller visited Singapore many pastors, including those from FCBC went to their meetings.
[…] Asia is becoming more and more susceptible as weak pastorship is allowing the Third Wave to gain easy entry to churches. Denominational lines are being blurred due to in-fighting, politics and bad decisions by leaders who lack of the solid food of the Scriptures. They often feed on unscriptural diets offered by these groups and visits by their leaders to Asia. Economic depression times are the best ground for these groups to sing to the tune of "prosperity theology". They say "give more to God and God will bless you, even double your blessing". There is much cheap talk, getting people hyped on miracles, healings, dreams, gold tooth fillings, etc. that are trumped up myths.
The many dangers posed by such "visitations" is often planned and sponsored by the "charismatic churches" who fund these many events by the money generated from their members buying books, videos, cassettes, DVD by the truckload. The struggle is on-going and until the churches stand firm on what the Bible teaches, many will fall into the devil's snare. The Third Wave has even affected leaders in Anglican Churches, Methodist and Baptists in Singapore.

safetyforsingapore.com suggests:

Christian diversity in Singapore appears limited or stagnant, with Free Community Church being the only Queer-affirming church in the entire country. It appears that any remotely progressive variation of Christianity was snubbed out before it could ever take spark: In 1987, the People’s Action Party heading the Singaporean government detained 16 people under the codename Operation Spectrum; these included “church organisations that it believed were used to further the Marxist cause”, such as “the Justice and Peace Commission, of which [Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan, a full-time church volunteer who was one of the 16 detained] was the executive secretary, the Student Christian Movement of Singapore, the Young Christian Workers Movement and the Catholic Welfare Centre, which assisted foreign workers and maids working in Singapore.” Given the paranoid extinguishing of religious leadership that is even slightly left-leaning or progressive, tendencies that are skewed to the right-wing appear to be void of a counterbalance to keep things in check within Singapore’s Christian landscape.

Operation Spectrum (also known as The 1987 Marxist Conspiracy, which Singaporean collective Function 8 has written about) is often examined from the perspective of labor history, state repression and authoritarianism, social injustice and/or breaches of universal human rights (or civil rights) frameworks. Criticisms of Singapore's Internal Security Act (ISA) – which is "a statute that grants the executive power to enforce preventive detention, prevent subversion, suppress organized violence against persons and property, and do other things incidental to the internal security of Singapore" – abound. What about the religious aspect of Operation Spectrum? How was it weaponized in 1987, and what have its consequences been on organized religion in Singapore (and thus broader political dynamics)?

In a speech concerning 1987's Operation Spectrum, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore S. Rajaratnam both unified and decried liberation theology ("a Christian theological approach emphasizing the liberation of the oppressed [that] engages in socio-economic analyses, with social concern for the poor and political liberation for oppressed peoples and addresses other forms of inequality, such as race or caste") and communism as immoral and idiotic in one breath:

I would like to dispose of a matter which may otherwise distract attention from my main theme – the arrest and detention of 22 foolish young men and women who played about with Liberation Theology. [...] The whole stupid venture into Liberation Theology in Singapore was summed up by lawyer Teo Soh Lung, one of the detainees. [...] Another casualty in the Liberation Theology caper in Singapore is Mr J B Jeyaretnam. [...] In Liberation Theology, we have to contend, not with the wretched of the earth, but with professors of theology, priests, bishops and may be a few as yet undetected archbishops and cardinals. [...] So what kind of theology is it that appears to have cemented a united front between God and St Marx? Who fathered this remarkable theology and for what ends? The authors of Liberation Theology are communists who have grown wiser and more quick-witted over the years aided and abetted by confused non-communists. [...] Marxism has always radiated a religious aurora which explains the fascination Liberation Theology has for simple-minded priests and nuns.

S. Rajaratnam was red-baiting, as Singapore had been developing its political economy to integrate itself into a Cold War era, liberal-democratic capitalist world order under then-Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew's PAP. The so-called 'Marxist conspiracy' was used to authorise the use of the powers of the ISA against alleged mastermind Tan Wah Piow (i.e. the scapegoat for the Singaporean state), Vincent Cheng Kim Chuan, Kenneth Tsang Chi Seng, Wong Souk Yee, Kevin Desmond de Souza, Ng Bee Leng, Tang Lay Lee, Mah Lee Lin, Teo Soh Lung, Jenny Chin Lai Ching, Tan Tee Seng, Low Yit Leng, Teresa Lim Li Kok, Chung Lai Mei, Chia Boon Tai, Tay Hong Seng, William Yap Hong Ngian, and, later on, Tang Fong Har, Chew Kheng Chuan, Chng Suan Tse, Fan Wan Peng, Ronnie Ng, Nur Effendi Sahid, Francis Seow Tiang Siew and Patrick Seong Kwok Kei. Names have been gathered from an article published in 2009 by The Online Citizen.

Since 1987, the ISA has multiple times been used on the Muslim far-right in Singapore, such as in the case of Muhammad Irfan Danyal bin Mohamad Nor in December 2022 and Zulfikar bin Mohamad Shariff in July 2016. [We've written about Zulfikar before.] The victims of Mercury Jamie Alice and Operation High Tide have been at risk of being similarly detained as well, tortured until they concede to whichever version of a narrative of 'conspiracy' that the Singapore state wishes to use. But the point of our blog has never been about state subversion, infiltration or replacement. It is solely:

Archive, updates and clarifications on what the victims have been through under Mercury Jamie Alice and other actors.

Lucien Wong Yuen Kuai SC, for instance, is an individual actor working in his own personal interests who happens to also occupy the position of being the Attorney General. He is not the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) as an entire institution and does not uniformly represent the AGC as a whole.

There is no conspiracy in our claims – unless every count of whistle-blowing even in good faith is mistaken as a battle cry. If such a misconception is indeed the case, we would like to re-orient the conversation to the actual belligerents who've long declared genocide and war in bad faith: The Christian far-right.

The previous question of what is Singapore's government doing about the Christian far-right 'vocal minority', particularly the likes of Lawrence Khong, might have its answer (if our blog hasn't already made it apparent): Not much.

But why? Where's the clampdown on the 'vocal minority' that is the Christian far-right?

Trial and Proceedings

On 18 July 2023, Subhas was "found guilty of attempting to promote ill will among racial and religious groups".

According to TIME's journalist Koh Ewe, on 5 September 2023, Subhas "was sentenced to six weeks in jail" upon conviction of "four charges of attempting to promote "ill will between different racial groups.""

According to Lydia Lam: "Deputy Public Prosecutors Suhas Malhotra and Jordon Li asked for six weeks' jail, while defence lawyer Mr Suang Wijaya asked for 20 days. The judge said that an analysis of case precedents shows that jail terms are usually given for such cases."

Meanwhile, Subhas has launched statevsubhas.com.

Rap, Right, Race and Reckoning


In 'Rapper Subhas Nair sentenced to jail for attempting to promote ill will between races and religions' published on 5 September 2023, Lydia Lam reports:

[District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan] disagreed with the defence's argument that Nair's case was less serious because he did not use racial slurs or derogatory references.

We note that in 2009, Gerald Giam Yean Song, who was later elected Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC, criticized District Judge Shaiffudin bin Saruwan for having said to Noor Mohammad Yassin Ismail (a homeless man who was apprehended for living in a tent without a license and was unable to produce his passport and National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) in court due to having lost them): "I suggest you use a bicycle chain to tie yourself to a tree or you may lose yourself as well."

Returning to Lydia Lam's article on Subhas' case:

"In my view, sowing racial and or religious discontent by alleging that law enforcement in Singapore discriminates based on race or religious grounds is just as serious as the casting of racial slurs," said the judge.
He said this was because it could potentially lead to the erosion of trust in enforcement agencies and lead to a breakdown of law and order.

If this is the judgment, Subhas' case must be contrasted with other cases that risk a similar, if not worse, "breakdown of law and order". On 4 June 2016, Bryan Lim Sian Yang posted in the 'We Are Against Pink Dot' Facebook page, of which Lawrence Khong and Nina Khong are members: "I am a Singaporean citizen. I am an NSman. I am a father. And I swore to protect my nation. Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes." He was fined S$3,500 for this, with "a reduced charge of making a threatening communication likely to cause alarm", downgraded from the initial charge of "inciting violence, which holds a maximum penalty of five years' jail, a fine, or both". While Bryan Lim's defence lawyer Adrien Wee argued that "his client's words were targeted at foreign organisations seeking to "exert social influence" by backing the LGBT cause", as such foreign sponsorship "touch[es] upon many things, including social and family values, as well as the sovereignty of the nation", this seriously obscures and distorts the actual reality of so-called foreign influence and threats to Singapore's sovereignty.

Our blog identifies the Christian far-right in Singapore as influenced by foreign interests and one of the biggest threats to the small country. Carissa Cheow's publicly released letter to the Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) dated 27 March 2023 blows the whistle on Singaporean Christian far-right connections to The Witherspoon Institute, CanaVox and Global Rainbow Crosser Alliance, which are registered in the US. In her letter, Carissa states that she has learnt that at least US$200,000 has been funneled into Singapore for operational purposes, in collaboration with Focus on the Family Singapore, Cornerstone Community Church Singapore, Church of Our Saviour, 3:16 Church and Liberty League. Our own sources have also identified Faith Community Baptist Church to be heavily involved as a coordinating body.

Carissa's publicly released follow-up letter to the Istana dated 1 May 2023 blows the whistle on the Singaporean Christian far-right's Operation High Tide. The letter does not insist that these allegations are necessarily true. Carissa makes clear in her letter that these allegations are not her own, but intelligence that she has received, and thus feels the civil duty and moral obligation to bring to attention:

Due to the highly sensitive nature of such information, I will not be publicly disclosing any sources from which I have come to learn of the aforecited details. Be that as it may, I wish to put on record that I am neither the only person nor the first person to have come to learn of the enclosed details regarding “Operation High Tide”, and I am merely bringing this to the attention of your good office as it had come to my attention in the course of the past few months, and the potential consequences of a successful “Operation High Tide” are significant enough to warrant public concern.

Instead, Carissa merely calls for a thorough investigation to be conducted by the relevant state bodies and institutions in Singapore:

I trust that the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau shall have already been looking into my complaint and proceeding with the necessary investigations into the incidents reported, but on the off chance that such investigations have not commenced yet, I am writing to formally put on record to your good office my request for your kind assistance to refer the matter to the Director of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), Mr Denis Tang Siew Taeng, whom I have copied in this letter as a recipient, so that he may exercise any powers provided to him under the Prevention of Corruption Act § 17 to commence such investigations.

Other than Director of Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau Denis Tang Siew Taeng, Principal Private Secretary to the President and Secretary of the Council of Presidential Advisers Lee May Gee, Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission Siva Shanmugam and the Registry of Foreign and Political Disclosures are copied in Carissa's letter as well.

Operation High Tide parallels the Republican Party's Project 2025 in the US – obsessed with the notion of 'eradicating transgenderism' – but uses different tactics to achieve its overarching objective, as it cannot realistically transplant US far-right approaches wholesale to the political, economic and social conditions of Singapore. Singapore is not the US. Operation High Tide is tailor-made in its strategy for a Singapore-specific context, with consultation, advice and support from relevant counterparts in the US.

For instance, influencing the People’s Association (PA) in Singapore by deliberately ensuring that it is sufficiently populated by individuals who favor the Christian far-right's standpoints is central to Operation High Tide. As grassroots consultation then appears skewed in favor of Operation High Tide’s objectives, decisions about public policy and legislation are thus influenced and seemingly substantiated by so-called ground sentiment. This might even be reflected in terms of data – a means through which the 'moral majority' can be justified.

In reality, the term and concept of the 'moral majority' is rhetorical, not scientific. In Singapore's context, Kenneth Paul Tan's 'Sexing Up Singapore' (2003), C.Y. Hoon's 'Revisiting the 'Asian Values' Argument Used by Asian Political Leaders and Its Validity' (2004) and Minwoo Jung's 'Embracing the nation: Strategic deployment of sexuality, nation, and citizenship in Singapore' (2021), among other pieces of analysis and/or scholarship, have observed an additional dynamic: The US conservatives' 'moral majority' sleight of hand (originating in 1979) has been melded with the defensive 'we must protect Asian values against Western cultural imports, morality and human rights standards' sleight of hand (peddled most fervently by Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia’s Mahathir bin Mohamad in the 1990s). The overall outcome is that an ideological defense has been mounted to enshrine state legitimacy and authority.

But two points must be made: firstly, that the state is not a monolith and instead comprises diverse actors shaping its direction internally and externally; and secondly, that while the state has a monopoly on violence due to the instruments it has at its disposal, the state is ultimately also a site of contestation. Accordingly, three questions must be asked: firstly, where is the influence from; secondly, who are the specific individuals exerting it; and thirdly, what are the pressure points?

If we pay attention, we note that Former Senior Minister of State for Law and Home Affairs Ho Peng Kee stated in a 2007 Parliament session that "Singapore was generally still a conservative society and the majority of its people still found homosexual behaviour unacceptable. Hence, the government had chosen to allow section 377A to remain status quo to maintain the country's social cohesion and let the situation evolve naturally." Ho Peng Kee retired from office in 2011 and appears to have recently authored a book 'A Christian perspective on politics and governance', published just this year in 2023. At a Faith Community Baptist Church sermon on 14 June 2015, filled with Wear White fanatics, pastor Lawrence Khong explicitly preached against homosexuality, classifying it as blasphemous, similarly invoking the 'moral majority' sleight of hand, borrowed from US evangelicals. Nina Khong led "the recitation of the Family Pledge" to wrap up the sermon.

The Christian far-right spent years fighting against the repeal of Section 377A – a wedge issue that they had mobilized and organized around, as part of their larger war. Some of these battles were taken public. Others were covert. In 2014, Lawrence Khong’s letter to the leaders of LoveSingapore was leaked:

This Guide is not meant for mass distribution to everybody in your church or everybody you know on Planet Earth. The reason is simple. Not everyone will understand the rationale behind what we do. Not everyone will be sympathetic. That is to be expected.
Therefore, it is very important for the Pastor to first identify an Action Group comprising the likeminded and the aligned – those who wish to give feedback to Government and who need advice on how to go about this in an acceptable manner through the available channels. We must approach this with tremendous grace. No one should feel that they are being forced to take action blindly or against their will. We must emphasize the fact that through this exercise, we are helping the silent majority in the Church to speak up – courteously and courageously – as we are already encouraged to do by the Government through official feedback channels.
Distribute the softcopy or hardcopy of this Guide only to likeminded, willing participants identified as your Action Group.

Our argument is that the PAP is not itself, as a whole, aligned with the Christian far-right on every matter. Furthermore, contrary to analysis that the PAP has more power than the Christian far-right, we posit that the reality is the opposite.

Note again the race and wealth distribution of the Christian far-right, especially their leadership. With megachurches to preach in, tithes to collect, evangelical recruitment structures, and personal wealth and connections, at their disposal, the Christian far-right in Singapore is a meaningfully organized political force, and has been for decades, without anything comparable to it in the broader social justice and/or political landscape.

We argue that the Christian far-right has had the PAP under their thumb for decades. Publicly, the Christian far-right has deliberately made it a point to visibly and loudly align themselves with the PAP, even inviting Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong to be the Guest-of-Honour at the Jubilee Day of Prayer in 2015, two months before the General Elections in the year of SG50, in front of 51,000 attendees. For Lawrence Khong, on one hand, a tactic like this signals to attendees and followers to vote for the PAP. On the other hand, importantly – and this is what people tend to neglect or de-emphasize – such a tactic also simultaneously signals to the PAP that the party needs church support and the Christian vote. This is a relationship of dependence, and it is conditional. A signal is a warning as much as it is a gesture.

This fragile alliance shattered in August 2022, with the announcement of the repeal of Section 377A angering many quarters of the Christian far-right. The PAP had made a decision for Section 377A's repeal due to the economic need to remain attractive to pink dollar multinational corporate investors, which brand themselves as progressive via having Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) departments and protocol in place. Note that a few days later, also in August 2022, Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng also announced the new Overseas Networks & Expertise (ONE) Pass, according to an article by Nikkei Asia. The ONE Pass is "a new five-year visa for high-earning foreign nationals, allowing them to work at multiple companies". The financial rationale behind Section 377A's repeal was to also ensure that Singapore would seem sufficiently progressive to attract high-earning workers, expanding its international labor pool.

This is part and parcel of Singapore's so-called 'pragmatic' approach to governance, delicately balancing an economic decision with the inevitable political consequences of a repeal. In order to placate the Christian far-right, the announcement of Section 377A's repeal was paired with an announcement that the Constitution would be amended "to protect the definition of marriage from legal challenges".

But the balance was severely miscalibrated, the attempt at appeasement a total failure. Section 377A's repeal in August 2022 enraged the Christian far-right, to the point that the National Council of Churches of Singapore released a statement, hardly veiling its anger, hostility and sense of self-victimization. To the Christian far-right, this was confirmation that the PAP was not holding up its end of the bargain despite the Christian vote. In sum, the Christian far-right has become increasingly dissatisfied with the PAP in recent years, particularly as they perceive Singapore under the PAP to be succumbing to 'woke culture'.

We observe hints of the growing antagonism (between the PAP as a party and the Christian far-right as its own political force) in the 2023 Singaporean Presidential Election. Salt&Light Singapore published articles with favorable coverage on George Goh Ching Wah, even a few days before he announced his candidacy on 12 June 2023. George Goh's role in Operation High Tide was to secure the presidency so as to concur with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong should he decide not to proceed with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) complaints that have been filed against others involved in Operation High Tide.

Regardless Singapore – which is essentially designed to appeal to progressive/liberal rhetoric and concerns, and nudge them bit-by-bit towards the alt-right – features two articles about George Goh, written by Timothy Anand Weerasekera, who is known to attend Cornerstone Community Church Singapore and was Mercury Jamie Alice's point of contact there.

In his first article, 'Five Thoughts About September’s Presidential Elections… if we even have them.', Timothy opines:

But beyond that, a walkover denies Singaporeans the opportunity to vote for a president who represents their values. Should Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh have been eligible to run for office, he would have appealed to a specific segment based on the causes he has previously supported. Likewise, the question remains: What causes will SM Tharman champion if elected? A contested presidency would allow Singaporeans to cast a vote signalling their approval or disapproval of a certain candidate’s causes and background.

In his second article, headlined 'George Goh: A Man For The People?', Timothy writes:

Presidents usually choose several social issues to champion. What will these be for Mr Goh and DPM Tharman?
Thus far, both candidates have remained silent on their campaign platforms, as have the mainstream media speculations on their priorities. Presumably, these await the Presidential Elections Committee’s qualification of George Goh as an eligible candidate, as well as the DPM’s notice period to run itself out. (Isn’t it remarkable that the DPM of a nation needs only to serve one month’s notice?)
As obscure as the President’s community-related duties may seem, they are central considerations for a voter who is deciding between the candidates. After all, what are we voting for if not to choose between the candidate’s values.

Read together, the specific reference to Ambassador-at-Large Tommy Koh Thong Bee, who is known for having publicly endorsed the repeal of Section 377A, and the mention of voting for or against specific candidates to signal approval or disapproval towards the causes and values they have championed before, makes clear that the Christian far-right was backing George Goh's candidacy primarily because they are aligned in religious values. This was carefully mediated by deliberately using ambiguous terms like "causes" and "values", so as to not limit their appeal exclusively to Christians. The unspoken implication is that Tharman's "causes" and "values", in contrast to George Goh's, are not aligned with Christian far-right interests.

Of course, Singapore is lucky that at least some within the PAP recognised that this absolutely could not happen: Disqualifying George Goh would take an optical toll on the PAP (and it certainly did), hurting their political capital, but putting George Goh in the running would mean that should he win, Singapore would be helmed under the presidency of someone aligned with the Christian far-right and under the party leadership of a Prime Minister who's repeatedly cowered in the face of the Christian far-right.

The Christian far-right, shocked by and angry at George Goh's disqualification, especially as they'd cleverly curated his campaign to appeal to a variety of audiences beyond Christian networks, devised Operation Sour Milk. Operation Sour Milk was a plan to build a movement around 'spoiling votes', mobilizing church members while also serving as a litmus test to see how big of an anti-PAP (or anti-establishment) pool they could rally with such an approach. If the spoiled votes percentage was high, this would destabilize and discredit the PAP and/or Tharman Shanmugaratnam's presidency even more, while also giving them fresh avenues and networks to focus their attention on to build non-Christian numbers in strategic alignment with them. In other words, Operation Sour Milk was to be a pilot run for new political tactics and frames. Talks to launch this campaign were underway among Operation High Tide leadership, but Operation Sour Milk ultimately did not proceed due to a misallocation of resources within Faith Community Baptist Church, and no active, organized, public 'spoiled votes' movement was mounted.

The Capitol attack in the US on 6 January 2021 is an example of insurgency from the far-right and an act of domestic terrorism, linked to white supremacist Christian nationalism. An equivalent riot attempt is unlikely to happen in Singapore simply because of contextual differences. Instead, a Christian far-right coup in Singapore is much more covert, sophisticated and slow, as Operation High Tide should indicate. This does not mean the underlying ideological positions, impulses and rhetoric between Christian nationalists in the US and Singapore are dissimilar – especially if we are to consider the bold assertions of Singapore being the 'Antioch of Antiochs' and the sheer ambition of Cornerstone Community Church Singapore's Kingdom Invasion. In RICE Media's 2018 article, headlined 'Lou Engle: An American Threatens a Christian-Muslim Divide in Singapore', journalist Benjamin Lim notes:

Last year, an Indian imam was fined and deported to his home country for making offensive remarks about Christianity and Judaism during a Friday sermon. Yet here is Lou Engle, aggressively stoking the emotions of the audience, almost spitting as he singles out ‘Muslims’.
The context is incredibly suspicious; he seems to suggest that Islam is a threat to Christianity, and that there needs to be an urgency to curb it.
Attendees, many of them Singaporeans who have pledged themselves to be one united people regardless of religion, applaud to show their apparent affirmation for this need to counter Islam.
Engle’s contentious viewpoints do not end here. Two days later on Thursday afternoon, he urges the audience in another sermon to be united in their endeavours to end abortion, again to rousing applause.
[...] You only need five minutes on Google to open a Pandora’s box of Engle’s tendentious exploits, including supporting a bill in Uganda authorising the imprisonment of homosexuals and the death penalty in some circumstances.
[...] Pastor Yang [i.e. Yang Tuck Yoong of Cornerstone Community Church Singapore], whose church has a congregation of more than 5,000, has used his position as a religious leader to propagate his views on homosexuals. Recently, he aired his support for US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, saying that it was “non-negotiable”.
With his views very much aligned with that of Lou Engle’s, it’s no wonder that the latter would be invited as a guest of CSCC for Kingdom Invasion.
More than once, conference speakers emphasised the need to “transform governments”, which seems to suggest the hope for a religious takeover of our political institutions. While this, according to the other preachers, fundamentally comprises the spread of good values and doing good for the community and society to encourage governments to follow suit, Lou Engle’s speeches are more complicated than that.
He repeatedly cites TheCall’s movements in the US to encourage Singaporeans to do the same; namely, using the power of the church and prayer to effect political change. More than once, he recalls how his prayers led to then US President George W Bush appointing Supreme Court Justices who upheld the ban on partial birth abortions in 2007.
[...] MHA’s [i.e. the Ministry of Home Affairs Singapore] refusal to comment on Lou Engle and Kingdom Invasion also points to the possible existence of a grey area in which religious leaders are allowed to operate.

We note that Benjamin Lim's RICE Media article was subject of a police report filed by Cornerstone Community Church Singapore in response. RICE Media founder Mark Tan was quoted by The Straits Times stating that Lou Engle being permitted to speak at the Kingdom Invasion conference "is inconsistent with the hard line approach taken by the authorities" against religious leaders who have "espoused divisive and radical ideas". We reiterate our earlier argument that the Christian far-right has held the PAP hostage for decades.

More can be read about Lou Engle and TheCall on 'The Christian Right, Reborn: The New Apostolic Reformation Goes to War', written by former Political Research Associates associate fellow Rachel Tabachnick. The article also highlights Focus on the Family's endorsement of TheCall, mentions director Roger Ross Williams' documentary 'God Loves Uganda' (which exposes the US Christian far-right's influence in Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, which was introduced in 2009 and passed this year, in 2023, making 'aggravated homosexuality' punishable by the death penalty), and speaks of Singapore:

The man credited with coining the name New Apostolic Reformation is C. Peter Wagner, who was a professor of “church growth” for three decades at Fuller Theological Seminary, a nondenominational evangelical seminary in Pasadena, CA. Wagner became internationally known for his teaching on church expansion and was a leading strategist for the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelism. A spinoff of that organization, following an international conference in Singapore in 1989, launched a massive effort to evangelize as much of the world as possible by the year 2000. Known as “AD 2000 and Beyond,” this effort enabled Wagner and other pioneers to promote the distinctive ideology that is central to the NAR.

We note that Peter Wagner and/or Wagner Leadership Institute is/are connected to Lawrence Khong and Kong Hee, and that Peter Wagner particularly praised Faith Community Baptist Church (FCBC) and City Harvest Church (CHC) "as role model churches that have moved the Church into the marketplace". We also note that AD 2000 and Beyond began in January 1989, less than two years after 1987's Operation Spectrum.

More recently, the language and arguments that the Christian far-right in Singapore makes against 'homosexuality', 'transgenderism', 'culture wars', 'family values', 'pro-life', 'pro-parental rights', 'cancel culture' and 'wokeness' are etymologically drawn from the US. The Christian far-right in Singapore take multiple cues from American Christian nationalists – whether in the style of MAGA/QAnon subgroups (consider religiously motivated anti-vaxxers, who exist in the Christian far-right but form a much smaller minority in the Singaporean context) or the more traditional Old Guard of the religious right.


Returning to conversations about race, articles on thirst.sg and Salt&Light Singapore appear scarce. Most notable is 'Race and the Church: Reflections from an Indian pastor' by Pastor Dev Menon of Zion Bishan Bible-Presbyterian Church in 2021, who ends his commentary with:

So… do I feel welcome in my own church? After 40 years? Especially when I am the pastor?
The church is not a place to go greyscale, but the kingdom of God, even to eternity, was destined to be in brilliant colour.
The truth is, I do not really know. I am not sure if it is the church’s fault or my own skewed interpretation of events.
Perhaps that is one of the most dangerous things about this race issue – no matter what others do – you will never feel truly welcome. God help us!

Remarks about how 'Chinese privilege' discourse is imported from discussions about 'white privilege' in the US are paired with alt-right dog whistles, such as 'social justice warrior' and 'snowflake'. If her own Facebook posts as well as her involvement in Dana Teoh's 'Gen Y Speaks: This is why I don’t want to be woke. Don’t cancel me for it' article in 2021 don't make her slow crawl towards right-wing extremism obvious enough, Bertha Henson, though not necessarily Christian far-right, has been sliding down the alt-right pipeline for some time now. She was meant to serve as George Goh's media advisor for his presidential campaign. The alt-right is a growing phenomenon and concern in Singapore, as Shashi Jayakumar notes in 'Singapore: The Lure of the Far-Right', and as Kenneth Yeo Yaoren and Amalina Abdul Nasir also write about in 'Extreme Right-Wing Ideology Arrives in Singapore'. As we've written above, the Christian far-right is realistic about not being able to convert everyone on religious grounds to further their interests, such as those in Operation High Tide's larger motive. Instead, they have been conducting pilot tests to broaden their base. This is where the wedge issue of 'transgenderism' or single-issue cause-based campaigns, such as to 'spoil votes', come in – to see if strategic alignments and/or coalitions with other right-wing (or even non-right-wing) collectives or individuals might work, even if just contingently and temporarily. This is seen in the Christian far-right's collaboration with the Muslim far-right via Wear White, and with the likes of Mercury Jamie Alice, Bertha Henson and Timothy Anand Weerasekera's pet project Regardless Singapore, which was launched shortly after the City Revival video incident in 2020.

In SG101’s 'Building a Multi-Racial Singapore' for Racial Harmony Day 2021, a section at the bottom of page 2 draws data from an Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) Report 'Our Singaporean Values: Key Findings from the World Values Survey', by Mathew Mathews, Teo Kay Key, Melvin Tay and Alicia Wang. The section highlights: "5.7% said that they encountered racist behaviour "quite or very frequently", compared to 23.5% in the US."

We note that Mathew Mathews is the Head of IPS Social Lab and a Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies. He also preaches at Alive Community Church under the moniker of 'Pastor Bobby Mathew'. He is also the author of 'Faith And Work: A National Survey of Singaporean Christians in the Marketplace', with a Foreword by LoveSingapore's Chariman – none other than Lawrence Khong. Lawrence Khong begins his Foreword with a declaration: "I believe that God's will is for every Christian to flourish in the Marketplace." This is unsurprising, given Faith Community Baptist Church's declaration for its members to "plant prayer and outreach points wherever [their] workplaces are situated", in keeping with their belief in the 7 Mountain Mandate, in "attempt to make Singapore a Christian country". Interestingly, Mathew Mathews, alongside Leonard Lim and Shanthini Selvarajan, also published IPS Working Papers No. 34, titled 'Religion, Morality and Conservatism in Singapore' in 2019. He also stated in a commentary published on CNA:

LGBT advocates have also tried to silence religious conservatives who take a strong stance against homosexuality. These range from calls to ban church pastor Lawrence Khong from performing a magic show in Ikea in 2015, to condemning the European Union when it invited law professor Thio Li-ann to speak at a human rights seminar in Singapore in 2014.

More on Mathew Mathews' comments and analysis can be searched online, or can be gleaned from 'Christianity in Singapore: The Voice of Moral Conscience to the State' (2010) and 'Stigma among factors why some find it hard to accept LGBTQ family members: TODAY webinar panellists' (2021), amongst others.

Recall the seemingly low 5.7% figure who have "encountered racist behaviour "quite or very frequently"", cited in the IPS report. One of the 5.7% is 35-year old Uvaraja s/o Gopal, a former sergeant with the Singapore Police Force, and he is now dead as a result of suicide, after having faced years of persistent racist discrimination from his colleagues at work that caused him to end his life this year, in 2023, in the face of intolerable circumstances, according to his suicide note posted on Facebook.

One death caused by racism is one death too many.


Right now, the wedge issue that the far-right in the US is fixated on is 'transgenderism' or 'gender ideology' (whatever these terms may even be). They've talked affirmative action, immigration and abortion many times before. The Christian far-right in Singapore might be fixated on effectively criminalizing 'transgenderism' under Operation High Tide for now, but that's just the start of the domino.

safetyforsingapore.com writes:

We have seen the impact that far-right movements in various states in the U.S. have had and are having on Queer people, oppressed racial groups, (im)migrants, the disabled, and other vulnerable or subjugated communities. Beyond this, in various countries and historically, we have seen how far-right movements have given way to the breakdown or co-optation of national institutions, legal and bureaucratic processes, and public trust – alongside disrupting economic stability, growth and development. Golden Ages and financial prosperity under fascist regimes have been short-lived and unstable in the long-term, even for the ruling elites themselves.
We are entering into a time period of global history that involves increasing militarization, territorial invasions, the formation of and shifts in alliances, a deepening climate crisis, and the overall shift in the balance of power internationally. Singapore is south of China, Myanmar and Thailand. It neighbours Malaysia, and is surrounded by different Indonesian peninsulas and islands. The Philippines is to its right. It is one of the four Asian Tigers, together with Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. Even if the Christian far-right succeeds in securing Singapore as a stronghold for its expansionist aims, this will not be the end of violence, but the tipping point for Singapore as it becomes a mere proxy for broader politico-military cold (or even hot) wars to play out over the country (and region).
Singapore is a member-state in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which includes Australia, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and others. As a trade port and financial hub, the incumbent People’s Action Party (PAP) needs to take the Christian far-right threat seriously. Persecuting Harvey rapidly does not help Singapore’s survival, but poses an existential threat to the country itself. The actual threats to Singapore – i.e. far-right extremists, whether individual (such as Mercury) or collectively organized (such as the Christian far-right) – will not be adequately or appropriately addressed.

Even as the PAP has been described as an authoritarian government, as a party it clearly has been unable to protect itself from the Singaporean Christian far-right, or even begin to know what to do with them.

Instead, the PAP has wasted resources clamping down on the wrong sorts of people, such as activists and whistle-blowers, instead of dealing with the existential and national security threat of the Christian far-right.

We identify the following individuals to be key personnel involved in Operation High Tide: Lawrence Khong Kin Hoong, Nina Khong, Carol Loi Pui Wan, Attorney General Lucien Wong Yuen Kuai SC, Timothy Anand Weerasekera, Tan Chuan-Jin, Indranee Thurai Rajah SC, Gan Kim Yong, Seah Kian Peng, Kuah Boon Theng SC and Thio Su Mien.

We have also discovered that Operation High Tide was first conceived back in February 2020, and initiated in March 2020 – over three years ago.

We confirm that AGC Crime Division's Cluster 4's Team 15 is pawn to Operation High Tide's interests, even as some of them are not necessarily aware of, or do not necessarily believe in, Operation High Tide's existence. These are: Alan Loh Yong Kah, Kelvin Chong Yue Hua, S S Umadevi, Joel Leong Kit Yu, David Rajeev Menon, Eugene Phua Liang Wei, Alexandria Shamini Joseph, Tan Pei Wei, Bryan Wong Jun Bin, Shaun Lim Sheng Kang, Yap Jia Jun and Xavier Tan Wee Cher.

Unconfirmed watch-list: Solicitor-General Daphne Hong Fan Sin, Darius Lee, Tan Seow Han.

Darius Lee and Tan Seow Han are both publicly listed authors under Public Discourse, the official Journal of the Witherspoon Institute, which is "well-known for its admonishments against same-sex marriage". The Witherspoon Institute is also infamous for funding pseudoscientific anti-gay research, as reported by VICE’s journalist Gabby Bess in 'Uncovering the Christian Think Tanks Behind the Bogus Studies on Gay Parenting'.

Darius Lee is an author at Regardless Singapore, has given a speech about 'Why 377A Matters To The Families of Singapore' that's been uploaded onto Christian YouTube channel Gatekeepers Singapore, and has published on Salt&Light Singapore too.

Tan Seow Hon also published an article headlined 'How Surrogacy Arrangements Fail Children' on 16 February 2021 on Public Discourse's website. Redditors on r/Singapore have joked about her being "Thio Li-Ann's protégé", after excavating a TODAY Online article she'd written in April 2013, headlined 'Time again to review abortion laws'. This shouldn't seem too far-fetched, given that another TODAY Online article, headlined 'Government policy review will be a mammoth task after gay man's legal win, experts say' and published in December 2018, show Tan Seow Hon and Thio Li-Ann tag-teaming via anti-LGBTQ dog whistles:

Law professor Thio Li-Ann from NUS said that in working these out, some of the larger issues implicated include the troubling notion of “the commodification of a woman as effectively a baby machine” and whether a child has a right to know both his father and his mother.
Law professor Tan Seow Hon from the Singapore Management University (SMU) mentioned other wider issues to be tackled, such as addressing the question of whether the idea of immorality of certain acts — which appears to be a possible ground of the criminalisation of male homosexual acts in Section 377A — translates to any legal effect on persons in same-sex relations who want to adopt a child.
Associate Professor Tan finds that the court’s present decision “sits uneasily on principle" with Section 377A.
“The court regarded the child’s welfare as the paramount consideration in adoption cases, yet it did not seem to be of the view that parenting by persons in same-sex relations would be detrimental to the welfare of the child,” she said.

Tan Seow Han has also published a paper 'Surrogacy, child's welfare, and public policy in adoption applications' in 2019, and, more recently, an article on The Law Gazette, titled 'Strengthening the Institution of Marriage as the Union of One Man and One Woman' just in March 2023. She's spoken at Cornerstone Community Church Singapore too.

We estimate the Christian far-right composition inside the People's Action Party (PAP) to be a sizeable minority of the party, whose defection would be sufficient to cause the PAP to lose its simple majority (recall the Christian vote). If the PAP is fractured, and segments of the party have been and are being politically, legally and/or economically held hostage by the Christian far-right from within and/or outside – now's a good time to reconsider current political targets, such as Subhas and Harvey. They are not enemies of society or threats to the social fabric of Singapore, though they are enemies of fascism. The Christian far-right is an enemy of society and a threat to the social fabric of Singapore, and they’re less than 18.9% of the resident population, with foreign political links and agendas, wrecking actual havoc, sowing discord and ushering in genuine destruction.

Aren't you tired of having to clean up after them? They're terrorists in legal garb and white-collar wear. They Wear White, unafraid to be stained with the blood they've shed; they'll just pay someone to do the dirty work and take the fall, attempt to flee Singapore if they have to (hello, Chew Eng Han), and all of this is for prosperity in the eternal life with God in heaven, anyway.

We encourage a reconsideration of priorities. Confront the Christian far-right properly – the same way Islamic extremist threats are swiftly dealt with – instead of playing endless whack-a-mole with activists as well as people who are victims of Mercury Jamie Alice and Operation High Tide. Better late than never.

Quick nod to the Internal Security Department (ISD) as well, which we understand to have long been infiltrated by Christian far-right personnel comprising approximately 40% of its department. We hope that nobody is under any illusions about this. Know your co-workers well, and know their affiliations thoroughly. You're literally in the ISD.

We give the benefit of doubt that not every individual member of AGC Crime Division's Cluster 4's Team 15, the PAP and/or the ISD might be fully aware of what they’re being used for. Some might be active contributors to Operation High Tide. Others might be afraid to ask questions or investigate deeper. Others might be completely clueless or confused. This is not historically unsurprising in the context of ushering in genocide, or participating in a genocidal project or regime.

In examining Adolf Eichmann's trial and his crimes against humanity during the Holocaust, Hannah Arendt refers to this cluelessness – this unthinking acceptance of the bureaucratic status quo and unthinking compliance with instruction – as the 'banality of evil'.

Operation High Tide is a big game. Genocide is a big game. These are broken down into smaller and more palatable steps, moves and processes so that more people are able to participate in the big game without grasping the scale of the entire project, or the weight of its consequences.

We now ask for more introspection: Do you wish to continue to unwittingly participate in the banality of evil? Do you wish to continue to fail to think? Is this how each of you wants to be remembered in history? As complicit? Do you not have eyes, ears, a mouth, a body, a language, a choice – to refuse, or to respond differently?

The Jewish Virtual Library's article, 'Nazi War Crimes: Massacre at Gardelegen', writes:

On April 14, the 102nd (405th Regiment, 2d Battalion, F Company) entered Gardelegen and, the following day, discovered the atrocity. They found the corpses of 1,016 prisoners in the still-smoldering barn and nearby trenches, where the SS had the charred remains dumped. They also interviewed several of the prisoners who had managed to escape the fire and the shootings. Within days, U.S. Army Signal Corps photographers arrived to document the Nazi crime and by April 19, 1945, the story of the Gardelegen massacre began appearing in the western press. On that day, both the New York Times and The Washington Post ran stories on the massacre, quoting one American soldier who stated:
"I never was so sure before of exactly what I was fighting for. Before this you would have said those stories were propaganda, but now you know they weren't. There are the bodies and all those guys are dead."
[...] The German people have been told that stories of German atrocites were Allied propaganda. Here, you can see for yourself. Some will say that the Nazis were responsible for this crime. Others will point to the Gestapo. The responsibility rests with neither – it is the responsibility of the German people... Your so-called Master Race has demonstrated that it is master only of crime, cruelty and sadism. You have lost the respect of the civilized world.

We hope that soon-to-be President Tharman Shanmugaratnam will be able to use his discretionary powers unhindered. This is especially given that multiple complaints have been reported to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) against key Christian far-right personnel (including by people who've been approached by the Christian far-right to be 'fixers' for Operation High Tide's subsidiary operations), but Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong clearly has not dealt with the issue. He is presumably desperate to not end his term in office with Singapore in shambles owing to decades' worth of unwillingness and/or incapability to deal with the Christian far-right problem head-on.

Hello, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Sure, the Christian far-right has given your party their endorsement and the Christian vote while it's been under your helm, but now that bargain is past its expiry date. Do you wish to be remembered in history in this manner? The Prime Minister who dragged himself down – and brought Singapore into collapse with him? You keep trying to silence and ally with the wrong people. You've been barking up the wrong tree. Save the country and save yourself. Mistake #1 was asking Attorney General Lucien Wong to handle the 'Mercury-Chettiar Situation' for you in April/May 2023. Mistake #2 was passing that trust onto Tan Chuan-Jin, giving him command over the ISD specifically for Operation Ink Tiger in July 2023. What came out of that, besides needing to hastily discard Tan Chuan-Jin and Cheng Li Hui on the basis of their extramarital affair with a terrible timeline that prompted questions of: "Why did it take so long for the affair to be made public?" We understand why.

In politics, sex scandals are often just a cover-up story for something bigger – in this case, Operation Ink Tiger. A lot of surface-level events known to the public eye, especially in the "wave of scandals" in "squeaky clean Singapore" that have "rocked the country", can be analyzed with more clarity and rigor once Operation High Tide and its subsidiary operations are factored into analysis... But of course, it's precisely for this reason that statecraft requires our blog to be buried and silenced ASAP. Even a Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) order would be too risky, drawing attention to the content and subjects of our claims. Plus, you may soon discover that a POFMA Correction Direction, contrary to any claims of extraterritorial jurisdiction, is actually unenforceable outside of Singapore's borders!

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, listen to your Prime Minister's Office (PMO), who’ve told you at multiple junctures to deal with Mercury Jamie Alice before she decided to drag the Christian far-right into the equation. Listen to your PMO, who've told you time and time again to crush the Christian far-right problem as a show of strong character before it snowballs into something bigger and worse. Listen to advisors who understand the threat of religious extremism – not to people who don't even know how to keep their sexual endeavors low profile, and to not speak vulgarities such as "you fucking populist" toward a fellow Member of Parliament (from the Workers' Party, Jamus Jerome Lim Chee Wui) into a hot mic.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, listen to your father:

If we get a cabinet full of Christians, we're gonna get an intolerant cabinet. We're not going to allow that.

Stop Operation High Tide. Are you going to allow that?

The Christian far-right conceals its hand in enormous violence by hiding behind the veneer of a supposedly righteous 'moral majority', when it is really just a 'vocal minority' engaging in hate speech and acts. The (mis)leadership of the Christian far-right has been happy to threaten, incentivize, silence and dispose lower level or mid-level lackeys doing the dirty work for them the moment interests collide. They have even begun to discard Mercury Jamie Alice via what is known as Operation Capillary Stem, leaving her without a lawyer. In fact, this game of throwing one another under the bus might already be penetrating even upper echelons of (mis)leadership. Where do you think some of our unnamed sources of intelligence come from?

Christians are not a monolith. 'Christians' are distinct from the 'Christian far-right'. With 18.9% of Singapore residents self-identifying as Christians, this means that the proportion of Christian far-right individuals (such as Lawrence Khong and Nina Khong) are less than 18.9%. What, then, of this Christian far-right 'vocal minority'? Surely, most people do not actively or consciously plan for and execute murder and fix-ups, or desire genocide. Where's the pushback and where's the clampdown – from ground-up and top-down, from within and outside?

Operation Mandrake. Operation Poison Ivy. Operation Pillory. Operation Werewolf. Operation Louve-Garoul. Operation Aviary. Operation Ink Tiger. Operation UltraViolet 1, 2, 3 and 4. Operation Awarah. Operation Aldhulih. Operation Alqamashia.

Whether the victims of Mercury and Operation High Tide are dead or alive, persecuted or vindicated, smeared or crucified, the world will come to know of everything they have been through. People already do. History will remember.

Hello, to everyone reading this, in Singapore and the rest of the world (many countries, we know). The Singapore government rather dramatically code-named the victims 'Hydra-22' last year, in 2022. But who provoked the sleeping giant, rousing it from its slumber, then quickly deemed it a beast for its reasonable anger towards the disruption of its peace? Mercury Jamie Alice. Who has repeatedly tried to keep it in chains? The Christian far-right. The victims of Mercury Jamie Alice and Operation High Tide are not enemies of the state. They are simply victims of far-right malice.

What do you do with a serpentine creature with many heads, both fearsome and powerful? Or fearsome because of its power. A prophet would have seen it coming. A fool would try to kill it to warn a hundred. A sage would heed it, befriend it, care for it, nourish it – and turn it against his actual enemies. The Hydra is, after all, a water monster. It thrives in the high tide. If you feed it and respect it, instead of trying to contain or slay it, some of you might be able to ride on its back too.