Photo credit: QUARTZ
[UPDATE] Crowdfunding Target Has Been Reached and Media Coverage
As of 16 April 2021, the target amount has been reached. Please read the update here.
Please see international coverage of the crowdfunding success at the South China Morning Post, The Online Citizen, AFP, Reuters, The News Lens (Chinese), WION (video news), WION (full Skype interview), WION (transcript of full Skype interview) Kompas.com (Indonesian), Taipei Times, The Independent Singapore and Thailand Daily.
A) Original Post: Crowdfunding Campaign to Raise Funds for the Money Singapore’s Prime Minister Demanded From Me
On the encouragement of friends and supporters, I revived my crowdfunding campaign on 7 April 2021 for the defamation suit I faced from Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong. Please see below the details (under the section, ‘More On My Case’):
In 2014, I was sued by Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong over an article I wrote on my blog, The Heart Truths. The prime minister said I defamed him. The courts agreed. In 2016, I was ordered to pay Lee S$150,000 (US$112,000) in damages. (Please also see in this link information on the previous funds raised for the fees and costs in relation the legal suit, and their usage. The previous funds have been paid out.)
For the past five years, I’ve been paying Lee S$100 a month, transferring money to Singapore while I live and work in Taiwan. Thus far, I’ve paid S$6,000. However, according to the payment schedule, I am supposed to start paying him S$1,000 a month from April 2021 onwards, until the full amount is repaid.
After deducting for the S$6,000, I still owe Lee S$144,000 (US$107,500)—according to this schedule, I’ll have to continue paying Lee in instalments for the next 12 years, until 2033. S$1,000 a month is a substantial amount of money; it is nearly half my current monthly salary.
Following the successful crowdfunding campaign of Leong Sze Hian—another Singaporean who the prime minister sued for defamation, and who raised S$133,000 in about a week-and-a-half—I have been urged by friends and supporters to start a new crowdfunding campaign to help me pay off the outstanding amount and get me out of this financial burden that has been hanging over my head since 2016.
The original announcement of this crowdfunding campaign can be found on both Facebook and Twitter:
If you would like to support my crowdfunding campaign, you can donate to:
- POSB Savings Account Number (Singapore) – 130-23068-7 (Ngerng Yi Ling)
- PayNow (Singapore): S8113784F
- PayPal – firstname.lastname@example.org
- PayPal.Me Link: https://paypal.me/royngerng
- E.Sun Bank 玉山銀行 (Taiwan): Bank Code 銀行代碼: 808, Account Number 存戶帳號: 0886-968-170270
B) During the Crowdfunding Campaign: Updates on the Funds Raised
The crowdfunding campaign started on 7 April 2021, at 6.30pm.
To keep track of the funds raised during the crowdfunding campaign, twice-daily updates were posted on my Facebook profile, and a Google Sheet was created to keep track of the funds raised.
Please see below the previous daily updates on Facebook, together with the amounts raised for each day. I will continue to publish updates on my Facebook until the end of the crowdfunding.
- Day 0.5: S$12,444.07
- Day 1: S$24,121.53
- Day 1.5: S$37,941.57
- Day 2: S$45,627.42
- Day 2.5: S$57,542.45
- Day 3: S$66,892.86
- Day 3.5: S$73,776.83
- Day 4: S$78,505.33
- Day 4.5: S$86,562.74
- Day 5: S$91,945.86
- Day 5.5: S$105,402.77
- Day 6: S$111,605.45
- Day 6.5: S$119,450.77
- Day 7: S$125,206.26
- Day 7.5 (12pm): S$132,251.07
- Day 7.5 (3pm): S$135,523.85
- Day 8: S$137,544.69
- Day 8.5 (10.15pm): S$140,929.97
- Day 8.5 (12am): S$141,799.35
- Day 8.5 (8am): S$142,739.70
- Day 8.5 (11.45pm): S$144,389.14 (Goal is reached!)
You can also see in the link below the Google Sheet I have created to track the funds raised (the 1st tab shows the total amount raised, the 2nd tab shows the amount raised via the POSB Bank account in Singapore, the 3rd tab shows the amount raised via PayPal, and the 4th shows the amount raised via the E.Sun Bank account in Taiwan):
C) After the Crowdfunding Campaign: Thank You and Next Steps
Please also see below the thank you posts that I have written to thank the various groups of people for contributing to this crowdfunding movement:
- Main thank you post to people from all walks of life and across political spectrum for contributing to this crowdfunding campaign
- Thank you post to my colleagues for their patience during this crowdfunding period
- Thank you post to Milk Tea Alliance #MilkTeaAlliance countries in Asia for supporting this crowdfunding campaign
- Thank you post to people overseas inside or outside of Singapore for contributing to this campaign
Please also see below the follow-up steps after the crowdfunding campaign detailing how the funds raised were managed:
- On 8 April 2021, the first S$1,000 installment of the funds raised was transferred to Lee Hsien Loong.
- On 17 April 2021, my lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam wrote to Lee Hsien Loong’s lawyer Davinder Singh to inform of my intention to make a lump sum payment of S$143,000 (after deduction of the S$1,000 installment).
- On 17 April 2021, I outlined the detailed plan on the management of the excess funds.
- On 19 April 2021, I updated that my lawyer is in the process of applying to the courts for lump sum payment to be made to Lee Hsien Loong.
D) Background of the Crowdfunding Campaign: Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Defamation Suit Against Me
More On My Case
The article that I was sued for raised issues about transparency over the handling of Singaporeans’ pension monies by the country’s sovereign wealth firms (SWFs). The prime minister is chairperson of GIC, one of these SWFs. His wife is the CEO of Temasek Holdings, the other SWF.
While the prime minister sued me for one article, he also asked me to take down four other articles with similar content. While these articles are no longer online, I have referenced them on my blog here.
Two weeks after I was sued, I was fired from the hospital I worked at. The hospital released a public statement on my firing, saying that my “conduct was incompatible with the values and standards” expected of employees, because I “defame[ed] someone else without basis”. The Singapore Ministry of Health followed by issuing a separate press release supporting the hospital’s decision repeating the same statement.
After I was sued, it became impossible to look for a job both among multinational companies and small businesses. They were scared of employing me for fear of offending the Singapore government. My difficulties in seeking employment, coupled with the large amount of money I had to pay, pushed me to leave my home country.
I have continued to write and advocate on issues since I’ve left Singapore, on The News Lens International and other regional media.