The ANU seems to be keeping a very low profile on the conferring of an honorary degree on Lee Kuan Yew. A search of the ANU web-site uncovers nothing on the matter except my previous New Mandala post. On the ANU web’s billboard we are advised of such gems as the prohibition of right-turns from Dickson Road into Clunies Ross Street and the “thrive at work” stress reduction program but not a word about the achievements of this international statesman. The ANU events program for next week is similarly silent. Nothing at all about Lee’s 28 March conferring ceremony. But we are informed about a seminar on the “international human rights system.” Perhaps Lee will be a surprise presenter!

But a search of the web does reveal some growing interest in the ANU honour. Uncle Yap’s eccentric looking blog even calls for a boycott of the ANU! And Viogger and Singabloodypore carry a letter protesting the honour purportedly written by Chee Soon Juan, Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party. Here is an extract from the letter:

Academic freedom is a ghost consigned to wandering hopelessly in the halls of Singapore’s state-controlled universities. Academics such professors Christopher Lingle, Bilveer Singh, and Lim Chong Yah who publish information unflattering of Lee’s government were bullied into submission; Dr Lingle was forced to flee Singapore when he was interrogated by the police and subsequently criminally prosecuted. As a neuropsychologist, I was teaching at the National University of Singapore. I was sacked three months after I joined the SDP. When I disputed the dismissal, I was sued for defamation.

And given that ANU is honouring Lee with a Doctor of Laws the controversy about the decision of the International Bar Association to hold its 2007 conference in Singapore is worthy of some attention. The ever-informative Asia Sentinel has two very recent articles on the topic: here and here.

Food for thought.

[UPDATES: The Road to Surfdom has also has a brief post. Channelnewsasia has a story about Lee’s schedule in New Zealand and Australia. The letter quoted above is available on the Singapore Democratic Party website. The Canberra Times is running a front page story today (Thursday) about “Anger at ANU honour for Lee.”]