Shoes and Parades

Singapore is a city-state of many contradictions. Believers in political violence can be tossed into jail for years without a trial. This happens in many developing countries. But where else in the world is there an ex-Political Detainee Association? It was formed by the Government in 1966 to help former detainees lead a normal life in society. It finds jobs and accommodation for them. Started with a membership of 49, it now has 400 members, runs its own shoe-making factory and magazine, and a contingent of them marches with flags, in the National Day parade.

From Singapore – Its past, present and future by Alex Josey (London, 1980), p. 174.

Does anybody know what happened to this Association? I don’t think they made an appearance at the last NDP. This could be an interesting piece of history to follow up on, if only to find out why anyone would think that shoe-making is a particularly suitable occupation for a former political detainee.


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