30 June 2006

Fevre Dream

4 days facing wave after wave of high fever. And dear reader, you too must wait for the final wave to break.

Beyond the waves lie a flood of articles that I hope to publish during the weekend. Some of these topics are old... but I assure you, no one will write them like me.

10 short notes on sedition: The National Council of Churches
10 short notes on sedition: what other guidelines should demarcate a clear case from a frivolous case?

The brilliant timing of STOMP: lessons and a warning to the local blogosphere
IPS post-election survey

Finally, here's some good news to cheer about. SCOTUS rules Guantanamo military tribunals are illegal. Court opinion here.

22 June 2006

Pensées: 10 short notes on sedition

Part I

1. Sedition complements treason and martial law: treason controls primarily the establishment, the civil service, the police and the army; martial law frightens heartlanders; and sedition frightens intellectuals.
(with apologies to Curtis Breight)

2. "The police will investigate when someone complains about offensive material on the Internet because it can have an impact on the public" - Wong Kan Seng, 17 June 2006

What counts as overreaction in a case of sedition? Even in the bad old days when the sedition laws were designed, sedition - like treason - was an accusation not lightly made, a charge not taken up by the state unless there was a clear case to answer to.

Here, Deputy Minister Wong Kan Seng shows his utter disregard for the common law, acceptable procedure, and common sense. An individual makes a police report, complaining that certain pictures posted were offensive to Christians, ergo damaging the racial and religious harmony of Singapore, ergo seditious.

Yet any man with common sense will ask: are the pictures really seditious? do they offend Christians? a vast majority of Christians? to the extent of inciting riots?

Any man with common sense will state: material that mildly offend, that a sizeable proportion of Christians do not find offensive, is not seditious and warrants no investigation.

Any man with common sense and more brains will believe there must be clear guidelines to prosecute only cases that are offensive enough to threaten the population. Otherwise, unchecked, this leads not to the preservation of racial and religious harmony that Minilee so loves and will do anything to protect (anything, including allowing the frivolous prosecution of mildly offensive bloggers), but the creation of a frivolously litigious society most feared by Papalee, who reformed Singapore's legal system to avoid just this sort of scenario.

The system needs to distinguish, at the earliest stage, what constitutes a genuine case of religious sedition and what is evidently a frivolous application, a mendacious attempt by a lone gunman to create a litigious society - and worse, a frivolously litigious society via the proxy of mandatory police investigations for any and every allegation of sedition.

Reprise: "The police will investigate when someone complains about offensive material on the Internet because it can have an impact on the public" - Wong Kan Seng, 17 June 2006

Any single person can complain over any alleged slight, any perceived insult? And the police will investigate? Thank you for encouraging every nutcase. Thank you for turning Singapore into a country of intolerant assholes who sic the police on anyone they disagree with. This is a clear indication of how vastly incompetent the Deputy Prime Minister is, of how much he values hot-headed, hard line rhetoric over cool sensibility, of fostering intolerance and tearing apart the social fabric of Singapore over creating a real legal framework that protects it.

3. "Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng on Saturday apologised for the way the police overreacted to a group of school girls' plan to sell and wear white elephant T-shirts at the opening of Buangkok Station." - The Straits Times, 22 January 2006

We eagerly await the inevitable apology from DPM Wong Kan Seng to Char and the citizens of Singapore, over the overreaction of the police and his own overreaction in the press. It seems that Wong has a certain proclivity towards overreaction, to using the police as a vicious dog to maul undeserving schoolgirls and bloggers. It seems Wong has the illusion that he is the chief of the Gestapo instead of a senior cabinet minister in a country with respectable and reasonable legal procedures.

For his mendacity, incompetence and sheer disconnection from reality, impeach DPM Wong Kan Seng! Impeach him NOW!

12 June 2006

Smile 2006

Ah, Minilee wants to welcome the world with a smile - or more precisely, he wants the entire nation to greet the IMF/World Bank conference with 4 million smiles.

It's as though Singapore is a gigantic Potemkin village, yes? That the entire population of Singapore will magically transform into obliging, smiling flight stewardesses to welcome the robber barons of global capitalism? And why on earth would Singaporeans be so docile and obedient to smile for the Prime Minister and his WTO, just because he's asking nicely?

Then again, this isn't unusual from the man who claimed that there is no angst in Singapore.

Okay Minilee and Mr Wong Kan Seng, here's my submission for Smile 2006.

Welcome to Singapore!
Protesters will be caned!
Have a nice day =D

06 June 2006

Goh Chok Tong speech decoded

3 May 2006 - Washington, speech to reporters

"The PAP is not out to have a clean sweep. What we are trying to offer is certainty of good government and good people in charge. So my message is this: Have your desire for opposition fulfilled, but never to the extent of changing the government."

--- Peanut Goh

Get your decoding rings ready!

1. "I do not have the calibre to function in a true democracy."
2. "In Singapore, the PAP decides how many opposition MPs Singaporeans are allowed."

Peanut Goh should grow up and accept the challenge of governing in a democratic country, where the voters decide how much of an opposition they want in Parliament. If he's unable to deal with the decision of the voters, he should either step down or work for peanuts.

My question to Peanut Goh: Let's cut to the chase and forget about elections, in this case. How many opposition MPs do you allow us to have, at maximum? Please, I want some more.

3. "We will do what we can to prevent Singaporeans from voting in more opposition MPs."

Peanut Goh admits he wants to control how Singaporeans vote! We need a clarification on what legal or extra-legal means he is contemplating. Does this include fixing opposition candidates? Or finding more ways to buy his supporters votes?

4. "The PAP will never allow voters to change ruling parties."

But Peanut Goh, you have no right to make this kind of statement. It is not your place to dictate to voters who they can and cannot vote for; how many seats the opposition is allowed and not allowed to win. It is not your place to tell voters they can vote in opposition politicians, but not too many.

Need I say that this is scandalous? Peanut Goh should withdraw from Marine Parade GRC for the insult to Singaporean voters he has made. The PAP should take clear, unambiguous steps to do the right thing, to sack Peanut Goh from the party before he damages their credibility any further.

"We can't fight the next battle using today's strategies," says Peanut Goh. But it is clear that the objectives of the Whiteshirt battle still remains the same as yesterday's battle. It is clear that the Whiteshirts still view voters as frightened children who must be told who they can vote for, and how many sweets they're allowed. It is clear that the Whiteshirts continue to be wildly out of touch with reality.