Each year in October, the world’s attention is focused on the Nobel Institute in Oslo as it awaits an announcement on the year’s winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Described as “the world’s most prestigious prize”, it has been awarded since 1901 to more than 101 individuals and 24 organisations. They have included heads of states and ordinary citizens who have worked tirelessly and fought bravely for peace and human rights.
Hailed by apologists as an “exceptional” “founding father” who transformed Singapore from “a swamp to a modern metropolis”, “from Third World to First World in one generation”, wouldn’t Singapore’s Mr Lee Kuan Yew be worthy of consideration?
Said Professor Geir Lundestad, Director of the Norwegian Nobel Institute: “LKY advocates Asian values. We do not believe in Asian values as they are used by leaders to deny elections to the people.” I told him there are elections in Singapore. He asked: “Are the elections fair?”
Human rights are the core values of the Nobel Institute which has a 6-man committee to choose the winner. Prof Lundestad explained that human rights encompass political, economic and social rights but political rights are regarded by the committee as the most important. The more famous winners among fighters of human rights included Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and Aung San Suu Kyi.
Chia Thye Poh
I pointed out to the good professor that when the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Mandela, it was wrongly reported that Mandela was the longest serving political prisoner. I told him that Singapore’s Chia Thye Poh was detained for 32 years, five years longer than Mandela’s 27 years. “I didn’t know that! What was he detained for? What is he doing now?” was the professor’s immediate reaction of shock. To this day, Mandela is the LAUREATE who has been in prison the longest.
After the meeting, we took a short walk to the waterfront where the Nobel Museum was located. We attended the 50th anniversary commemoration ceremony of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to US civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. The US Government was represented by its Charge d”affaires in Oslo who was the Acting Ambassador.
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Categories: CEC member writes