Thursday, February 4, 2016

Benjamin Lim's death: Trust in Police damaged

I wanted to write about this last night but was too upset to find the words. So many thoughts ran through my mind and much of it is best not published. Today I decided I shall write this for my kids. I will pass on my attitude towards the police to them.

I was thirteen years old and only a few months in secondary one and not to familiar with how to get around because primary school was just beside my house. So one day I got lost along Tanglin Road and desperate I flagged down a Police patrol car for help. The two officers were very nice and took me in their car to find the place and sent me there, which was actually nearby.

Sadly over the years especially from around the turn of the century my view of the police worsen over time from my encounters with them, watching how they work and especially from my friends in the press.

I like to think the police officers of my youth would have treated Benjamin Lim with more sense. The police officers rarely made mistakes then, at least from the many occasions I have to complete paperwork with them. My last time engaging with them was totally frustrating. That was in 2010. My dad had just passed away in SGH. I went across the road to the Cantonment Complex to obtain a death certificate which the undertaker needed. To cut a long story short and with the help of computers the two careless officers printed me a death certificate with no serial number. I didn't realize until at 3am in the morning the kindly undertaker explained to me the document was unusable. I had to double back to the Cantonment Complex to get it fixed. On hindsight I should have known better and be more meticulous with their work as by then I had already heard too many bad stories about them. It didn't help that the Police I was told had been starved of officers, i.e., they were generally over worked.

My point to my children is very simple, don't trust the Police too easily. Stand your ground with them regardless, they are not above the law themselves. If you must trust, verify first. If they try to intimidate you record what is going on with your phones. I feared Benjamin's parents might have made the mistake of trusting the Police too much and paid the most tragic price.

The stories in the media on what had happened is noteworthy for much missing information and desperately trying to paint a better picture of the Police. The ball is in their court to show that they are professionals and deserving of the trust I used to have for them.

Update: 4:20 pm

Just spotted and read this, an open letter by Benjamin Lim's father which he submitted to TOC. No surprise such a latter didn't appear in the mainstream media eh?

Link to the letter at TOC.

Update: Feb 8 5:55am

We cannot turn back the clock, still what we need is time.


  1. There are many questions about this sad incident. However I must say that the school has a very big part as they seem particularly fast to "wash" their hands off a "problem" student, judging from not having a teacher accompany Benjamin to the station and striking his name off the camp list within the day. No questions were posed to the parents when they returned from the station.

    1. Thanks. I agree with you. Like the Hep C fiasco at SGH nobody will be disciplined for this unless there is very strong public pressure. They got away with the Hep C episode because most people say to themselves, "I do not have Hep C, this is not my problem" Now this is different.

      I also note that Shanmugam was quick to talk abut cat abuse but silent over this incident. He had the guts to scold the Americans on their soil over the TPP but on home ground before his constituents he is a mouse. Instead his MP colleague Louis Ng had stepped forward.

  2. At 14, he would follow girl home and touch her when nobody is around.