He’s been accused of flouting the law, of promoting homosexuality, of creating outrage among parents, of threatening the very fabric of our multi-racial society, of being an affront to CONSERVATIVES WITH HIGH MORALS AND INTEGRITY (emphasis not mine), of CORRUPTING OF MINOR UNDER OUR PENAL CODE [sic], of being a very dangerous person to the Well-being, Harmony, Future and especially SAFETY of Singapore [sic], of being shameful and embarrassing to our country.
And that’s just from a cursory scan through the Reach portal. Funny how bad grammar and bad logic seem to go hand in hand.
How does one promote homosexuality? Did an upright heterosexual suddenly turn gay as a result of Mr Siew’s stance on equal rights? Who are these so-called CONSERVATIVES WITH HIGH MORALS AND INTEGRITY? As far as I can tell, there’s nothing very moral about hiding behind a pseudonym and launching ugly personal attacks against an individual. And that practice of registering multiple handles in order to post multiple times? That’s integrity?
And then there’s that MAJOR crime of CORRUPTING OF MINOR UNDER OUR PENAL CODE [sic]. Whoever is making that accusation should do the nation a service and produce said MINOR. Let him stand up, and tell us how Mr Siew’s politics have transformed said MINOR from innocent lamb to an ugly, anal-sex-loving, morally depraved torturer of kittens.
Last I checked, our multi-racial society is still very multi-racial. We celebrate people of all religion, creed and colour (yay, Pink dot!). My sense of well-being hasn’t been compromised, and neither has my personal SAFETY. The future seems kinda cloudy for now, but that, I blame on the global financial crisis, which surely, surely, Mr Siew can’t be accused of starting? Yes?
And while on the subject of baseless accusations, let’s deal with this one thing that the swiftboaters seem to so enjoy bringing up again and again and again – the fact that Mr Siew might have flouted the Legal Profession Act.
OOOOH, say the PeopleWhoHideBehindPseudon
Concerned citizens, and Mr Tongel Yeo, who lodged the complaint, did YOU even read the relevant bits of the Act to begin with? Did Mr Siew perform any of the acts described in *33(1) or (2)?
Let’s see, did he:
Sue out any writs, summons or process? No.
Commence, carry on, solicit or defend any action, suit or other proceeding on behalf of the Old Guard in any of the courts in Singapore? Nope.
Draw or prepare any document or instrument relating to the AWARE saga in the courts in Singapore? Not that anyone knows of.
Wilfully or falsely pretend to be, or take or use any name, title, addition or description implying that he is duly qualified or authorised to act as an advocate or a solicitor, or that he is recognised by law as so qualified or authorized?
OK, this is probably the bit that the swiftboaters will single out. He was described as “Legal Adviser” during the AWARE EOGM. Mr Siew is legally trained. He was asked to give some pro bono advice. He never said he was an advocate or solicitor acting on behalf of ANYONE. Was he wilfully pretending to be one? Why on earth would he want to do that? Who would he fool? The man is well known in Singapore. Even a child can find his CV on the internet.
Anyone who can read will be able to tell that Mr Siew didn’t perform any of the other services set out in Section 33(2) either (scroll down for the relevant bits).
More importantly, Mr Siew did not offer his help **in expectation of any fee, gain or reward. He wasn’t paid. He’s not gay and certainly not a woman, so what direct gain could he possibly reap by helping out? If anything, this ugly backlash shows that he was taking a tremendous risk.
So why, WHY was the complaint lodged? Mr Tongel Yeo says he didn’t do it specifically to target Mr Siew. According to local media reports, he merely wanted to find out the extent that corporate counsels could “represent to people that we are legal advisers”.
Okay, let’s accept that explanation. So maybe you meant well, Mr Yeo. You were merely clarifying a legal point. You, a corporate counsel, are concerned about what corporate counsels can or cannot do. Fine.
The problem is, you’ve just given some truly moronic people more justification to try and convict a man in the court of public opinion – no matter how ludicrous the grounds, or how flimsy the evidence. Mr Yeo, I’m sure you were just being conscientious. Being a Concerned Citizen. I’m sure you had good intentions. Good intentions. You know where they lead.
*Legal Profession Act
33. —(1) Any unauthorised person who —
(a) acts as an advocate or a solicitor or an agent for any party to proceedings, or, as such advocate, solicitor or agent —
(i) sues out any writ, summons or process;
(ii) commences, carries on, solicits or defends any action, suit or other proceeding in the name of any other person, or in his own name, in any of the courts in Singapore; or
(iii) draws or prepares any document or instrument relating to any proceeding in the courts in Singapore; or
(b) wilfully or falsely pretends to be, or takes or uses any name, title, addition or description implying that he is duly qualified or authorised to act as an advocate or a solicitor, or that he is recognised by law as so qualified or authorised,
shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), any unauthorised person who, directly or indirectly —
(a) draws or prepares any document or instrument relating to any movable or immovable property or to any legal proceeding;
(b) takes instructions for or draws or prepares any papers on which to found or oppose a grant of probate or letters of administration;
(c) draws or prepares any document or instrument relating to the incorporation or formation of a limited company;
(d) on behalf of a claimant or person alleging himself to have a claim to a legal right writes, publishes or sends a letter or notice threatening legal proceedings other than a letter or notice that the matter will be handed to a solicitor for legal proceedings; or
(e) solicits the right to negotiate, or negotiates in any way for the settlement of, or settles, any claim arising out of personal injury or death founded upon a legal right or otherwise,
**shall, unless he proves that the act was not done for or in expectation of any fee, gain or reward, be guilty of an offence.