Article in the Economist : You can cage the singer.
University World News : Conviction casts doubt on Yale tie-up
Straits Times :US style not for S'pore
Alan Shadrake's conviction for contempt of court adds to the pervasive fear among Singaporeans for speaking up. Shadrake's case just add to the long list of people who have been convicted for their criticism of our politicians and the system. In 2009, it was the WSJ that was found guilty of contempt of court for 2 artcles in its paper[Link] about the Singapore judiciary. In 2007, IHT was threatened with a lawsuit and made to apologise for an article that merely listed members of the family who occupied high positions[Link]. In 2008, FEER was found guilty of "defamation by imputation" by Singapore courts[Link].
In 1997, eleven defamation suits were filed against JBJ for saying the following words in one of the election rallies: "Mr Tang Liang Hong has just placed before me, two reports he has made to the police against, you know, Mr Goh Chok Tong and his people"[Wikipedia]. JBJ was made a bankrupt when he was unable to pay the damages. I leave to you to find out how someone can be found guilty for holding up a police report and saying what was essentially true.
These cases have caused widespread fear among Singaporeans to speak up against authority even when there is a real need to do so in the interest of justice. Countries 10 times to 100 times the size of Singapore can be governed without such a lawsuits against citizens and the media so why is there a need for it here? What we have today are obedient citizens, fearful and accepting of what is handed down to them. We need to get rid of this fear so that old ideas and rules are challenged, so that we can be innovative and progress as a society. In the NUS-Yale tie-up, Yale is concerned that the limits academic freedom and freedom of speech will stifle the ability of students "to express themselves in scholarly publications, in the classroom and on campus" [Link]. Even in the other areas of education such as engineering and basic sciences, we need students to vigorously challenge old ideas and break free from rules to innovate...and we are not going to have that in the current environment.
Read about our Home Affairs and Law Minister's speech to students in Columbia University. I wonder if there were Singaporean students among the audience and how they stopped themselves from laughing during the speech (you want to know why...read about what he said during the speech below). With ministers like Shanmugam who spend time to invent weird logic to justify the status quo, we know nothing will change for the better with this set of leaders in power.
US style not for S'pore
By Tracy Quek US CORRESPONDENT
Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam said Singapore cannot withstand, nor it is prepared to accept, the harmful consequences of having its media like American press. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
NEW YORK - WITH its small population and short history, Singapore cannot withstand - nor is it prepared to accept - the possible harmful consequences of having its media become like the American press, said Minister for Home Affairs and Law K. Shanmugam.
The US media has a wider and freer role than the press in most other countries. But American society, being large, rich and stable, is strong enough to endure the potential damage of having a media that does not always live up to its ideals of being judicious, fair and independent, he said.
Is he telling American audience that Straits Times is fair and independent while American media is not? ...This is really weird and bizarre...especially when Straits Times has close ties with the Singapore govt.
Mr Shanmugam drew these comparisons in a speech outlining Singapore's perspective on the role of the media at Columbia University on Thursday.
The US, he told the audience at a university forum on A Free Press for a Global Society, 'has in-built stability'.
'There can be fringe lunatic behaviour, but mainstream Americans are sensible and rational, and extremist sentiment will not threaten the very fabric of society,' he noted.
...and Singaporeans are not sensible.
This is the first time I hear someone say Americans behave better than Singaporeans. After 40+ years of PAP aren't Singaporeans the most obedient docile and law abiding people in the developed world? ...There is more extremism in little Singapore?
In many developing societies, however, the glue holding society together is not as strong and 'these societies can easily rupture along tribal, ethnic and religious lines,' he said. In Singapore's case, racial and religious fault lines can be easily exploited.
Singapore is like a developing society that can erupt along tribal, ethnic and religious lines? Gee I thought all those Racial Harmony days and the quotas on races for HDB blocks were working. Today, the problems with integration is not between races or religious groups but between Singaporeans and foreigners ...and there is also a growing class divide among Singaporeans that can prove destabilising in the long run. Anyway, how can the religious + racial fault lines in Singapore be deeper than those in America where almost any form of belief is allowed and extreme views can be expressed?
Read the full report in Saturday's edition of The Straits Times.