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!


Anonymous said...

What started as an ill-disguised attempt, with the GE2006 in mind, to intimidate and fix the internet by evoking the sedition act has now backfired and "entrapped" the law enforcers. Post-GE the sedition act has lost its intended purpose so we actually have Char and the other religious zealot to thank for escalating the farce and exposing the failings of an archaic law and its enforecement. Like tiny-brained ostrichs, the DPM and his underlings are now burying their heads in the sand and staying mum, waiting for the dust to settle around them without the loss of any feathers... Just another day in Sillypore.

Imagining things a little further, i can see how certain activists could easily "create" similar farces to turn the table around and embarass and entrap these ostrichs.

akikonomu said...

A farcial law isn't the only thing that's going down, and the ostriches aren't just the authorities.

I'm taking down the National Council of Churches in my next post.