As my 'regular reads' list on the left column testifies, I (used to) enjoy reading Mr Gopalan Nair's entries regarding the state of Singapore politics. I chanced upon his blog at least a year or two ago and have been reading his thoughts regularly, long before the ongoing debacle in Singapore occurred.
Although I felt it was unnecessary for him to come into Singapore and invite trouble in the first place, I felt that is was either a case of extreme silliness or political bravery - and very possibly a potent mix of both. I was not sure if his motivations were personal or patriotic but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt notwithstanding.
As most of my readers know, I was formerly in the Police Force for 10 years and was attached to the Central Police Division for the duration of my career. For a major part of those 10 years, I was doing much work at the Little India vicinity by way of various assignments. I was therefore naturally tickled when Mr Nair chose to stay at the Broadway Hotel along Serangoon Road upon his arrival and even more intrigued when he was arrested for Disorderly Behaviour within that jurisdiction.
I immediately checked with Mr Nair's version on his blog, Singapore Dissident, and he claimed to have been followed and persecuted. I thought perhaps some ISD officers had been tracking his movements which led to the scuffle and subsequent arrest. However, a few days later, I happened to chat with one of my ex-colleagues and was told that he was actually arrested by 'normal' officers who were doing routine plainclothes patrol that night. In fact, some of the officers who arrested him are known to me personally.
I was informed that these officers did not know who Mr Nair was until he was brought back to the Police station. I have no reason to disbelieve this as I know that the officers involved are not that much interested in the (opposition) political climate - unless of course they are tasked to perform duties with regard to 'demonstrations', in which case they curse and swear.
That being the case, it is very highly probable that Mr Nair WOULD NOT have been arrested had the officers recognised who he was. I am certain that he was not singled out and had, on his own accord, invited trouble by banging on the bonnet of the Police car. In usual cases (from personal experience as well), Police Officers try to give the benefit of the doubt to abusive drunkards simply because; a) they are more of a nuisance than being criminals, and; b) they are a handful until they sober up - being a nuisance from arrest to lock-up till they eventually sober up. Not to mention, somewhere along the line, they will throw up (ie. vomit) and compound matters for evryone involved.
In Mr Nair's case, the level of tolerance would have been (much) higher had the officers known who he was from the beginning of the incident. Of course, this is not to say that he would not have gotten himself arrested anyway with his antics eventually. I would even go as far as to say that he must have been extremely violent and aggressive to have 'forced' the officers into arresting him.
Personally, I feel disappointed that he would choose to provoke officers and invite trouble for himself. In his latest entry regarding the ensuing court case, he also speaks of the court officials being reluctant to identify their full names. Although I find this immaterial to the matter of the case itself, he mentions the investigator, Mr S Vickneshwaran, using a false name, S Vicki. I have personally known this officer since 1995 and he has always gone by the name 'Vicki'. In fact, there is only one officer 'Vicky' in the whole of Central Police Division (more so for 'S Vicky') and it is definitely not a 'completely false name' as alleged by Mr Nair in that entry.
At best, he is nitpicking with regard to this issue and, at worst, he is intentionally disrupting proccedings with a sideshow. I am again disappointed with this behaviour which he could and should avoid. As things progress, I find that, overall, he is drumming up things unnecessarily and then claiming to be persecuted.
These officers are restricted by the OSA (Official Secrets Act) and will not be able to defend themselves directly unlike Mr Nair who can post everything on his blog. Although I am not fond of things as they are in Singapore, I refuse to just stand by and watch my friends and ex-colleagues, who are honest tax-payers themselves, and who perform their jobs with dignity and honour, be subjected to such unfounded accusations and baseless distortions of the truth.
The purpose of this post is to let everyone see the other side of the coin with regard to the Disorderly Behaviour incident involving Mr Gopalan Nair. The facts stated herein are as good as hearing from the officers involved themselves, thank you.
Mr Gopalan Nair (left) & Rochor NPC (right) - Where I Was Last Posted