Archive for July, 2015

SG does lack freedom of expression

July 12, 2015

Dear Mr David Kaye,

I refer to the letter “SG does not lack freedom of expression” addressed to you by someone going by the pseudonym of whiteyellowbrownblack.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

For your information, Singapore does not lack in freedom of expression. Our government holds open debate on mass media and social media. There is no restriction on public assembly for social gatherings. Public assembly for political purposes can be held at Hong Lim Park.

For your information, Singapore severely lacks freedom of expression. There is not enough open debate about societal issues on mass media. Newspaper editorials support the government more often than not and give little if any due recognition to more robust counter-arguments found only on the internet. National think tanks and university academics are almost always in support of the government but are often caught with their pants down with false arguments or skewed statistics. Television debates are often over represented by the government and its auxiliaries. Even documentaries and period dramas slant the truth until fact becomes fiction and fiction becomes fact.

The government’s use of the social media is pretty much confined to making announcements or scolding Singaporeans. They hardly ever answer to more substantive hard questions posted by Singaporeans online.

By law, any gathering of more than five persons is liable for jail.

Public assembly at Hong Lim Park requires a permit which is sometimes refused and other times cancelled at the whim or fancy of the ruling party.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Nowadays, any government official who opens his/her mouth becomes the instant target of venomous replies and rebuttals. Through the Internet, people can go online to criticize, condemn, curse and swear at the government day and night. Its a free-for-all, done anonymously, without any age limit. Even kids do it. One has gone a step too far. And that’s Amos Yee.

It is not true that all that is uttered by government officials gets targeted. If government officials make sensible statements, these statements will be accepted and embraced by the people. For example, when Mr Tharman said that Singaporeans are underrepresented in financial institution top positions, the people cheered. When Dr Balakrishnan called for a spade to be called a spade when Orchard Road was flooded, the people cheered too. Government officials have only themselves to blame for making obviously ridiculous statements which they somehow are quite fond of making.

Whiteyellowbrownblack perhaps doesn’t see the pain and suffering that the people have to go through due to ridiculous government policies that are the source of their online tirades. Rather than focus on these tirades, Whiteyellowbrownblack should instead focus on the root of these tirades and channel his energy towards combating these root decays instead.

Whether or not Amos has gone too far is a matter of opinion, not fact. Whiteyellowbrownblack admits below that he is unhappy with Amos’ admonishing of his beloved LKY but Amos wasn’t even charged for that. This shows there is absolutely nothing wrong with insulting LKY. Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize that LKY was a controversial person, not a universally recognized good person. There will be those who praise LKY; there will also be those who insult LKY. Whiteyellowbrownblack is free to rebut Amos but he should not follow in LKY’s footsteps and bay for Amos’ blood instead. Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize there is a sizeable minority ordinary Singaporean folks who see LKY as a bad person and who too have been hurt by the complete and absolute false praise of LKY to the heaven during LKY’s mourning period. Amos’ tirades hardly brought enough balance to the skewed praising of a man they see as undeserving of praise.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

The kid does not only challenge the tolerance of the authority. He hurt the feelings of ordinary folks like me as well. He insulted those who bid their last farewells to their beloved LKY as “necrophiliacs who suck his d*ck”. He again insulted those who supported LKY as “sycophants who for decades past have been ferociously s*cking his oblong dick”. If you consider that as freedom of expression, then you should have no objection to me saying that you are a pedophile looking for a chance to ferociously s*ck his fresh young d*ck?

Whiteyellowbrownblack has justified the use of crude words in return for the crude words that Amos used. But Whiteyellowbrownblack hasn’t or perhaps could not justify the torture of Amos in a mental asylum. That is the crux of the issue that Whiteyellowbrownblack doesn’t seem to comprehend. The UN is stepping in only because the punishment meted out to Amos was way out of proportion to Amos’ purported ‘crime’. If all that Whiteyellowbrownblack wished for and all that the authorities enforced was a mere return of crude tirades, then UN mostly would not have stepped in.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Children and youngsters in Singapore are well protected. They don’t get gunned down in schools or on the streets. They don’t become drug-addicts. As far as the protection of children goes, the UN should first learn to keep its own house in order. UN Peace-keeping forces have been found to rape those very women and children they are supposed to protect.

While there may be more reported incidences of gun violence in schools in the US, such incidences are much less heard of in Europe, Australia, Canada or New Zealand. Whiteyellowbrownblack should not extrapolate the problems in the US to all Western societies in general. Liechenstein and Monaco are two Western nations that quite often boast lower crime rates than Singapore.

UN indeed is having its hands full at having to deal with abuses all over the world. But these abuses mostly originate from Third World countries. The last thing UN expects is to deal with abuses in supposedly First World Singapore.

Whiteyellowbrownblack wrote:

Lastly, one question: Why is it that in a global organization like the UN, only Westerners are in positions to dictate values to Asians?

Whiteyellowbrownblack should recognize that the secretary general of the UN, Mr Ban Ki Moon, is an Asian. Whatever that has been dictated to Asian Singapore quite obviously came with the auspices of an equally Asian Mr Ban Ki Moon.