Monday, 28 November 2011

Why 1987?

This blog was started out of my interest in the events of May 1987 where 16 Singaporeans were arrested and detained under the ISA for a "Marxist Conspiracy" that plotted to toppple the PAP Government. 6 more were arrested in Jun 1987 bringing the total to 22. According to the official account, the conspiracy was orchestrated by Tan Wah Piow, a student activist who had fled Singapore in 1976 after evading National Service. Those arrested served between one month and three years of detention without trial; in fact, all were released by Dec 1987 except for Vincent Cheng who was said to be the main perpetrator.

As a keen student of history, I began to read up on the available accounts online as the Marxist episode is barely covered in our education syllabus and not even bothered by those who attend local universities (mostly). In our studies, we seem to take a very critical approach to the study of Chinese, American, Indian and European histories. But somehow when talking about our own Singapore's history, it comes across as binary opposites, a battle of 'us' vs 'them', PAP vs The Rest. No doubt, to a certain extent, history is an account of battles and contestations but it is only with a closer inspection of events and persons that we may come to a better understanding of how we came to be.

These days, it's easy to read the accounts of those detained under ISA with the Internet and social media and the many opinions of those concerned over the debate to abolish the ISA. Let's just say as much as I am interested in those issues, I would leave them out for now as I would try to delve into what and why May 1987 happened.

So readers, I hope you would enjoy some of my research as much as I have enjoyed it myself.


  1. Thanks very much and it is interesting to state the least.

  2. nice work. thanks for the articles.