Freedom of Speech has Limitations?

ryan

Nobody believes in total freedom of speech you say?
I do, but yeah I’m a nobody in the Singaporean political sphere, perhaps you’re right.

I do mind child pornography and there are laws against this, laws that protect children from being taken advantage and exploited.

Well I don’t know about you, if I had a 12 yr old child who shows keen interest in the fine art of demolition, maybe because their daddy (hypothetically me in this scenario) happens to be a professional buildings demolitionist, I would teach my child first and foremost the safety of demolition. Our children are not a vessel to live vicariously through, they’re their own person and it’s up to us as parents to offer support with what they’re interested in (as long as it doesn’t violate any laws or harm another person) and perhaps some day, this hypothetical child of mine will be the heir and successor of a top class demolition company because their daddy didn’t restrict their curiosity.

And yes I agree with you that “free speech with boundaries” argument is just pointless because free speech already has a definition, it’s the freedom to speak freely to share your mind and ideas, no matter how nonsensical, idiotic, crazy or offensive it is without fear of legal or violent repercussion, because all of those are subjective, it’s up to the individual who is listening to determine this for themselves,

Is pornography okay?
Yes it is, its legitimate work, in countries where pornography is legal there are unions formed to protect the rights of porn actors and actresses.
I’m assuming you’re talking about legal porn and not amateur revenge porn.
Revenge porn is a clear violation of privacy and as such is illegal.

Should we be allowed to criticize Politicians?
Yes, no person/people, institution, ideology or religion are immune from Criticisms, Mockery, Satire or Scrutiny.

Example when we prioritize the feelings of the religious to not be offended, we get movements like “We are against the pink dot” whose anti gay stances which are backed up by theology cannot be challenged for fear of wounding their religions and getting you in jail.
So they get to spread their message of hatred towards homosexuality and you can’t do anything about it because their ideology and religion is protected by law.

Can companies sue us for expressing displeasure at their products?
No, because we paid for these services we expect a standard of service.
Like with the recent FlyScoot incident where passengers were stranded over 20 hours, sure it’s a budget airline but when I see people defending the company for their incompetence saying “you pay cheap like dat lor” you know 400 dollars is still a lot of money to some people the least a company could do is display a fair bit of professionalism and own up to their mistakes and compensate when those happen.
Companies can however sue if they are being slandered or libel to protect themselves from falsehoods.

Your last paragraph is basically saying, free speech has limits, who sets these limits?
When did I relinquish my ability to think for myself to another person or a group of people to decide for me what I can and cannot hear?

Just a short excerpt from a post I made with regards to this same point being brought up

“So guess to those Singaporeans, my standard of Freedom of Speech (the one where its actually freedom of speech) this would be going too far. That more moderation needs to be done, maybe we should have a committee to decide for everyone what is and what isn’t allowed. You know, thought policing, alleviating your freedom to think for yourself so that another person or a group of people may do so for you, this is the problem with many Singaporeans that I’ve come across.”

To sum up this long winded post.
When people say “Free Speech should be limited/have boundaries”
What they’re really trying to get at is the “Right to not be offended”
Which by the way doesn’t exist because offense is taken not given.
If someone finds themselves offended its their own prerogative to stop taking offense.

Peace!

“Nothing happens when you’re offended” – Steve Hughes.

Click here for my explanation of Free Speech.

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Amos Yee: Not just a Rebellious Teen

amosmandela

Reading an article on TheOnlineCitizen.com interviewing his bailor Mr. Vincent Law has really given me an insight on who Amos Yee is as a person.

When Amos was taken back into remand, I had assumed 2 things.
Either Vincent Law does not have the $30,000 to front or Vincent Law offered to the front the $30,000 and Amos Yee declined his proposal.
Needless to say, I was glad it was the later.

A lot of people are under the impression that Amos Yee just a young angry teen full of angst, rebellion and lacking in empathy.
If he truly was lacking in empathy, He would have taken the offer by Mr. Law and squandered it by breaking the terms of the bail a second time, yet he chose not to.

He understands the injustice of Act 377A in Singapore that criminalizes male homosexuality and empathizes with their fight to get this law repealed, it serves no purpose in a civilized society and no amount of slippery slope fallacies used by the ruling governing body can ever justify this blatant discrimination.

His less than subtle, humourous and sarcastic commentary on the Little India Riot showing maturity and understanding of situations while being balanced and constructive, is a sign of a green and thriving mind that is well beyond its years.

The only fault of his youth is that it’s not given him the tactical understanding of how work around the system but again, even if he did work around the system, I wouldn’t doubt the system would find a way to incriminate him as it has shown itself to with other critics.

In the shared conversation with Mr Law, where he confronted Amos about his religious beliefs, Amos yet again shows a wisdom that is well beyond his age, Yes we can take issues with religious doctrines, we can criticize them and we can disagree with them but that doesn’t mean we have an issue with the religious just because we’re atheists.

Amos Yee has truly shown true strength in his character.
His unrelenting desire to not conform or compromise.
His maturity in responding to “Cookie Tan” the man who openly made his desire to maim the genitals of a teenage boy then stuffing said member into the child’s mouth.
Choosing to remain in remand over risking someone else’s money.
His ability to articulate his thoughts into material.
These aren’t just actions of a rebellious teen, these are actions of someone who sees injustice and will not stand for it.
Admirable traits in someone so young.

Since day one of this saga, it has been refreshing to see how one Singaporean teenager has been so brazen and defiant in standing up for his freedom of speech, I only wish more of us have the tenacity of Amos Yee.

And I hope at the end of this saga Amos comes out unbowed unbent and unbroken.

Peace!

If someone tells me that I’ve hurt their feelings I’m still waiting to hear what your point is” – Christopher Hitchens.

Additional Links
Read more about Amos Yee on his Blog

The Double Standards between Jason Neo and Amos Yee

Four years ago, a Young PAP member, no longer YPAP now, named Jason Neo took a picture of a school bus filled with muslim kindergartners with the caption “Bus filled with young terrorist trainees

bus
The only picture of this I could find has the caption censored and this also why I’m anti censorship because it disrupts the flow of information.

I’ve been following the Amos Yee case as much as I can and many Singaporeans, including myself, are outraged at how the government went about handling this issue, arresting a teenager and trying him as an adult for “intentions to wound the feelings of the religious” amongst two other charges.

In most discussions involving Amos Yee, the name Jason Neo is mentioned and the incident that happened with him, people are urging the authorities to apprehend him and bring him to court, while the authorities keep saying “we’re still investigating the case”.

Yes, I agree it’s hypocritical that a young teenage boy, practically a nobody, gets arrested within 3 days of posting his materials and a prominent young PAP member gets to skirt around the justice system after 4 years, with authorities saying they’re still investigating the Jason Neo matter. No question it is despicable, deplorable and disgusting how hypocritical the system is.

Here’s the thing, Jason Neo and Amos Yee did nothing wrong in their criticism of religion and the religious.
They have every right to do so, secured by freedom of speech and freedom from religion.
Albeit what Jason Neo did was out of ignorance and stupidity, stereotyping an entire religious group and comparing them to a terrorist group but last I checked, being stupid isn’t a criminal offense. Amos Yee made a comparison between a religious figure and a religious organization towards LKY and pointed out some uncomfortable truths.

Muslims should indeed condemn the words of Jason Neo but at the same time practice restraint and not call onto violence towards the man for being incredibly stupid and they have to which I commend, especially at the time where the subject of Islam is volatile, internationally.

The actions of people who oppose Amos Yee’s opinion however, have not shown such grace, citing calls of violence and making physical threats against a teenager, physically assaulting him and the local media’s attempt to smear Amos’ character by calling him mentally unsound.

There are double standards between Jason and Amos’ incidents on all sides.
There are those who pretend Jason was just joking whereas Amos was trying to start trouble.
There are those who think that Amos should be freed while Jason should be brought to task.

I stand on the side of Free Speech, while I support Amos’ right to speech, silencing Jason’s would make me a hypocrite. I do not have to support or like what Jason said to allow him to speak, it is his inalienable freedom as a human being and my moral obligation to call him an ignoramus for saying such a moronic statement, even if he thinks it’s a joke, it’s not a funny one.

These are 2 similar incidents, despite the different circumstances, about Freedom of Speech and Freedom from Religion.
The authorities need to come clean about their complacency towards Jason Neo’s case and drop all charges against Amos Yee.

Freedom of Speech is for everyone, not just those you agree with.

Peace!

To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” – Voltaire

Additional Links:
Police queried on 4-yr old case involving ex-YPAP member
Amos Yee’s post about the Media

 

Sniffing Out Propaganda

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“.

Peace!

“The goal of modern propaganda is no longer to transform opinion but to arouse an active and mythical belief” – Jacques Ellul

Sources
The Original Article
To Singapore, With Love
Operation Cold Store
Dr. PJ Thum on Operation Cold Store

I don’t support Censorship, I just believe in Moderation

This is the phrase I’ve often hear coming from people who support censorship.
The thing they never thought about is, moderate to whose standards?
Their standard?
When did someone else become the authority of my sensibility and sensitivity?

People who say this tripe need to realize what they are advocating for is thought policing which is a sign of an totalitarian autocracy, the death of democracy.

In my conversation with someone on youtube who advocates this idea, he compared Amos Yee on one end of the spectrum and ISIS on the other end.
Wherein Amos Yee represents the lack of moderation and ISIS as the extremists of censorship.
Which I think is an adorable analogy on just how flawed his thought process is.

There is no in between

There is freedom of speech on the Amos Yee side and there is no freedom of speech on the ISIS side, it’s simple as that.
Well you may complain, what if I get offended?
So fucking what you got offended?
What do you want me to do about it?
Stroke your hair and whisper sweet nothings into your ear and tell you it’s gonna be okay, the bad people are going to leave?
Fuck no, grow a thicker skin and move on.
When did “sticks and stones may break may bones so do words” become a thing?

I am an advocate for human liberties and freedoms.
And I support everyone’s free speech, even yours, you who champion moderation.
I let you speak, then I tell you how stupid you are for not realizing, you’re the extremist.

Oh… and if you have an issue with the word fuck appearing four times in this article, you can sod off, I recall most of you from Singapore do not have an issue with the word sod, which is a synonym of fuck, as it went on air uncensored on Phua Chu Kang where Frankie and PCK were having a banter competing on who can be the biggest poseur English prick.

Peace

I do not agree with what you have to say but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire

Are Singaporeans ready for the return of their Freedoms and Liberties?

If I was to go by the comments left behind by many Singaporeans with regards to the 16 yr old teenager who was arrested for practicing his freedom of speech on a recent yahoo Article.

I would honestly have to say no.
Singaporeans are a testament to what 50 years of autocratic rule and the restriction of humans rights and civil liberties have done. They are afraid of freedom because freedom comes with a cost, responsibility.

When you have lived in such an environment where you don’t even have to be responsible for your thoughts, faced with ideals that challenge your perception and slave mentality, you will fight to keep yourself chained to the machine, it’s the only thing that is real, that and the fear.

Like with these commentators; 

The terrorism in Paris and Sydney is the stark stabbing example of Western brand of democracy/human rights. They condone radical preaching in their backyard and stood helpless (binded to their ethos of democracy/human rights) even when tragedies strike on the expense of their native citizens. America’s irrepressible urge to “spread” democracy in Middle East rendered nothing but a wretched mess of radicalism – hell on Earth.

It is so abhorrent to know that Kirsten is a Singaporean. I hope it has now become past tense

I assume they are talking about Charlie Hebdo, in which case they certainly do not follow current affairs, as Charlie Hebdo brought to light some very fundamental issues with how religion is given a free pass. A discussion is happening, ideas are being put forward and shared, spawning the Paris March.

Freedom of speech dose not mean to hurt other feeling, I have seen Amos Yee few videos but in all he like to talk offensive. Yes you can talk but first prove your self that you are right.cheap publicity is very much easy then doing really work on floor. You should appropriate good people work who build nation but if you don’t want to appropriate then no one having given right to depreciate. Better just seat inside room do your study because what services you are enjoying now to upload videos on youtube need good Internet speed which 70% of Asian countries not enjoying so better shut your mouth and do some good work.

Freedom of speech does not take need to take your emotions into consideration, so what you’re offended? it doesn’t give you special rights, saying you’re offended is just a whine, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase.

France has freedom of speech and expression. Look what happened to those cartoonists. France as a nation has a long history and her people are open to such freedom without fear. The killers may be from the religion which those cartoonists were making fun of but they were naturalised citizens. Singapore is a young nation where race, religion and culture are still very sensitive. We have gone through many racial problems in the past but the laws put up, maybe draconian to many, have prevented reoccurrences of such incidents. Just look at our neighbour. Their laws are more draconian esp when it touches race and religion , well, mainly for one race and religion only. We have to trade in some of our freedom to live in harmony and most importantly, safely. Here we can walk safely in most parts of Singapore even in the dark. I f France has some restrictions on such freedom, those cartoonists will still be alive and drawing. However this will not to be and you will see more of such problems in future. One day, it will not be safe to walk the streets in these western free countries.

And I assume this person has been drinking the Calvin Cheng koolaid, where he quotes the part about the amazing safety in Singapore as though crime and violence doesn’t ever break out and how he condones submitting to terror for the sake of safety.

If you read through them you will notice a common narrative, fear.
I cannot emphasize enough, 50 years of autocratic rule and the restriction of human rights and civil liberties have conditioned people into a state of constant fear.

Instead of looking for enlightenment and understanding by asking critical questions and describing radical ideas, many choose to remain silent and live in fear of retaliation and it’s just so sad.

I mentioned in my article “Freedom of Speech is Freedom to be Human” that it is the government’s duty to protect our freedoms and civil liberties from those who wish to revoke and restrict them.

So if you ask me, are Singaporeans ready for their basic human freedoms and civil liberties to be returned to them?
I would have to say no but then again, I don’t care to coddle the ignorant masses who are keeping down the progressive few.
The progressives need to take a stand and lead by example.
We need to show them how Democracy and Liberalism must go hand in hand.
We need to show them that theres more to life than just survivalism.
If more Singaporeans care about the pursuit of happiness maybe we wouldn’t need to spend so much money to teach people how to smile via useless propaganda… I mean campaigns.
We need to build a nation where peace and harmony is achieved through respect, love and understanding not ignorance, fear and apathy.

Peace!

People learn to love their chains” – Danerys Targaryen

Additional Links
Plato’s Allegory of the Cave
8-bit version of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Sources
The comment section of this article

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/blogs/singaporescene/freedom-of-speech-in-singapore-a-matter-of-030239722.html
Four Million Smiles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Million_Smiles

Religious Sensitivity aka Blasphemy Laws for Non Believers

I’ve heard it said so many times, that you shouldn’t criticize religion. So… why shouldn’t we? To protect the feelings of the religious? To shelter them from dissenting opinions about their beliefs? Okay but what about when the religious try to tell the non religious that they’re misguided and lost without religion. Are the non religious supposed to just agree and not explain to the religious why they’ve come to the conclusion of non religion?

Well if that’s the case, I should allow Islamic Radicals to straight up murder me, because according to the hadiths, Apostates like me should be killed.

Religions do not exist in a vacuum, they’re in the open and many religions even try to impose their teachings, insidiously, through Governments like sensitivity laws which are basically blasphemy laws since you can’t be blasphemous unless you’re religious.

I’ve done my fair share of dismantling religious beliefs when my Atheism is questioned, it’s my right as a human being to have freedom from religion as much as it is for the religious to have freedom of religion and that is why I’m a secularist.

Religion should not have a say in Government and Governments should not have a say in Religion. We have to respect other people’s choices with how they choose to lead their lives but that doesn’t mean we cannot discuss issues that seem foreign to us, it is through discussion and dialogue (or even an informal internet rant) that we become enlightened.

Even if someone is being rowdy and purposely rocking the boat and shaking you out of your comfort levels. Listen to them and question them before you dismiss them as a heretic.

Peace!

“It’s now very common to hear people say, “I’m rather offended by that.” As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more than a whine. “I find it offensive”. It has no meaning, no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. “I’m offended by that”. Well, so fucking what?” – Stephen Fry

Sources

Islam on Apostasy
Bukhari Book 52 Number 260
http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/052-sbt.php#004.052.260
Bukhari Book 89 Number 271
http://www.usc.edu/org/cmje/religious-texts/hadith/bukhari/089-sbt.php#009.089.271

Disclaimer: I’m not saying all muslims take the Quran literally and are therefore extremists. I’m pointing out parts of the religion which I have every right to not agree with and criticize.