Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Can't even establish the facts around Benjamin Lim's case.

So ST gave a timeline of what  happened eh? Was it accurate? But I want to look at something else before returning to that.

In the recounting, analyses and explaining of what led to Benjamin killing himself (well nobody saw how it happened OK, we just thought it reasonable to assume he jumped from his bedroom window) there has been more heat than light. The complete facts were never definitively established and what is considered reasonable filled the gaps along with various assumptions and then on top of the whole pile add speculations.

If I take the ST timeline to be right, what had triggered Benjamin's tragic action could very well be he was denied the chance to attend the school camp. Of course to support this I would just be speculating that the camp meant the world to him, and to a 14-year old that very well might be true - the test of reasonableness.

But it is all conjecture isn't it?

The worst speculation is reserved for what happened in the police interrogation (note not interview). The session was never recorded either in audio or video. Police lost the chance to protect itself. But why should enough members of the public assume that police interrogation could be, if I may put this across quickly, "human rights denying" and using power to apply dreadful psychological pressure. Because many have friends who know friends telling stories what it was like to be interrogated by the Police. However we live with it because the overwhelming majority of us will not suffer such treatment, i.e., not my problem, I am good. The same reason why there is not much public outcry over the Hep C incident at SGH.

Establishing the facts when the process was never designed to capture them along the way is hard work time consuming and costly. So what started as reasonable guesses became facts after a while to create a consistent story with no gaps.

The above compares TOC against MHA. Five officers versus 3 officers according to the minister but the MSM also consistently reported 5 officers (e.g., below). Just one example of not getting the facts right. If I am kinder perhaps there were three officers and two busy bodies tagging along who seemed at that time not needed elsewhere.

ST claimed five plain clothes officers. So how many actually? Shanmugam said no more than three.

Now it is my word against yours, where are the facts when we need them? So the more powerful wins eh as Churchill warned that was how he would write history.

The Police for your own sake and the morale of your officers in the age of social media, record the interrogations. Record the facts and do not permit speculation. Nevertheless my experience with the Police have gotten worse as blogged about in an earlier post. They told me they would contact me about the neighborhood watch and I am still waiting. Their word is not so good.


  1. I had great respect for the police force at one time. I did not have many encounters but every I sensed solidity and professionalism behind them. Standards seem to be falling like in other organizations ( think SQ ). As for the neighbourhood watch thing, the response would be different had you been visiblly one of the elite. This is the way we are going.

  2. Sad. It could be anybody's fault including Benjamin's emotional weakness. While the timeline serves to explain events, what matters to everyone concerned (including his parents)is that we are dealing with a 14 year old who we assume can deal with such unexpected chain of events. In our society, we assume kids will grow up to be responsible and rational. Try to think back to when you were 14, perhaps that may save Benjamin's life.

  3. "Now it is my word against yours, where are the facts when we need them? So the more powerful wins eh as Churchill warned that was how he would write history."

    So, the boy was spoken to by one officer and taken away by three. Why the heck were 5 there then? Why? Ownself check ownself - slippery slope!

  4. Words can be very misleading and un-enlightening, especially when spoken in official terms and spoken in parliament setting. E.g. person-of-interest was interviewed by investigation officer VERSUS the suspect was placed in air-con 1 degree Celsius room, handcuffed to metal table, sitting awkwardly on fixed metal chair, for 12 hours without food or drink or any toilet breaks, interrogated by different police officers who shouted vulgarities, bang the table and kicked the suspect's chair, and brandished fists or truncheons in the face of the suspect.

    Anybody who have done duty in NS as police inspector, or SAF SIB or Provost will know the REAL tactics.

    The school compound and corridors have CCTV also. Can verify how many policemen at any one time walking together or escorting Benjamin. Can also see the policemen demeanor -- sia lan style of walking, air of tension, behaviour of Benjamin under escort, etc.

    Of course it will be convenient for the CCTV recordings to already have exceeded the temporary time-storage and already been over-written by newer footage. What is the length of time to maintain CCTV recordings in schools? 1 month or 1 year or ...??