I return my gaze to the article on “The Independent” by Mr. Calvin Cheng and followed it back to it’s source, “The Strait Times” a Government therefore PAP owned newspaper company, where I read the article in it’s entirety and has become blatantly obvious that is is a propaganda piece targeted at the lower educated Singaporeans who have never experienced life outside of Singapore.
Mr. Calvin asserts that Singapore instills these draconian laws that restrict our freedoms because any good person wouldn’t break them by citing petty criminal offences such as littering, leaving gum everywhere, urinating in public, vandalizing to more serious issues like drug smuggling and rape.
Well I hate to break it to the man but even with these laws in place, you will still get people committing them, look around you. The only way to fully stop people from doing something you don’t like is to take away that freedom, like chewing gum. To my foreign readers, chewing gum is contraband in Singapore and we wonder why we’re called a nanny state.
It’s so simple, if you don’t obey we take it away.
Mr. Calvin points out, back in the 60s we had racial riots and yes we did, it is not for the Government to say, okay you cannot gather here and you cannot say such things. It is the duty of the Government to protect our human rights, from those who wish to revoke them from us, not to repress our rights. So instead of learning from that historical event, we push the narrative of racial harmony, restrict the freedom of assembly for fear of another riot.
If America had acted like Singapore during it’s civil rights day, the Jim Crow Laws would still be in effect but they understood what civil rights were and deemed the Jim Crow Laws unconstitutional allowing for the minorities and those who supported them to stand up for their freedoms, was there violence during these uneasy times, yes of course but they learned what real freedom costs, unlike Singaporeans who would rather be sheltered by ignorance and fear, fear that we would go back to the 1960s instead of learning from our mistakes and not repeating them again.
And he has the audacity to call our draconian society, civilised.
I’m not even going to bother addressing the more severe crimes he mentioned to which he thinks it’s uniquely Singaporean that we criminalize those and take actions against because any intelligent person would know better (and be against corporal and capital punishment, to which he suggests are a good way to deter such offenses, civilised right?).
Next he talks about “Freedom of Speech” and likens it to giving people the freedom to offend other people’s religions, race or defame another person.
I really don’t know if he believes in this drivel hes writing or if hes just towing the party line but I’m sure someone who has had the privilege to travel the world and live abroad would understand that freedom of speech is a necessity to progress humanity forward by being able to highlight unpopular opinions and controversial subject matters, such as religion and politics, to which I’ve highlighted in my post “Freedom of Speech is Freedom to be Human” and he says we’re better off because our Government with their unlimited government funding can sue private citizens.
The best bit is where he has the audacity to defend Operation Coldstore by argumentum ad populum, by comparing Operation Coldstore to Operation Demetrius and Guantanamo Bay, making the assumption that people who condemn Operation Coldstore do not feel the same way about Operation Demetrius and Guantanamo Bay, when most critics of such human rights abuses, detention without trial, universally condemn such actions.
As a Singaporean, I am ashamed that my country people can excuse such actions saying, “oh it was necessary for the time” or “oh it because they were communists”. Fun Fact, there is no evidence to support that Barisan Sosialis members were communists and secondly, even if they were communists, it doesn’t give anyone an excuse to detain people without a trial.
The fact that he defends the blatant human rights abuse by the government with this fallacy is testament to his support for it but I could be wrong. Much like how “To Singapore, With love” by Tan Pin Pin a documentary about Singaporean Exiles which attempted to show the humanity in those exiles received a “Not Allowed All Audiences” rating by the Media Development Authority in Singapore.
We cannot even make up our own minds, well we can, but we’d have to take extra lengths to go across the causeway to watch it, point being it’s banned in Singapore so we only get the one sided view.
And he claims there have been no trade offs.
Maybe there has been no trade off for Mr. Calvin Cheng but for many Singaporeans, those who value their independence, human rights and civil liberties, there might have been a massive trade off.
And maybe this is just one huge propaganda piece to protect the delicate sensibilities of the lower to middle class Singaporeans who had never experience life outside of the country, where the truth of dissent might shatter their view of reality.
The rest of the article, he confuses freedom for security, which I’ve already replied to, in “Freedom and Security are not Synonyms“.
“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief” – Jacques Ellul