Ladies and Gentlemen,
Singapore's online edition of the state owned and controlled newspaper Straits Times of Nov 24, 2009 has the story: "Tougher law on loan sharks". It talks about even harsher brutality to be meted out to any loan sharks messing about in Lee Kuan Yew's city state of Singapore. The laws are brutal enough as they are now, what, with beatings and long prison sentences. It appears that despite this cruelty, the culprits refuse to learn. Now the number of beatings (in Singapore they call it caning) has been almost doubled and so are the prison sentences to run as long as a decade!
I wonder what the reasoning behind this sort of criminal jurisprudence is? Do they really think this cruelty will solve their problem? Or for that matter, is such cruelty acceptable in this day and age?
Let me tell you something about Radzinovich (I am not sure if I got the spelling right) who wrote about criminal sentencing. I read it in 1979 when I did my Bar Finals in England. Dr. R had made a study of the criminal problem in England and compared it with Scandinavia. England had a higher crime rate even though their sentences were more severe, than in Scandinavian countries even though the sentences there were much lighter with prisons even allowing for conjugal visits, generally a much more lenient regimen.
What Dr. R concluded was that the cause of crime has nothing much to do with how harsh your sentences are. It has all to do with your standard of living. Scandinavia had a higher standard of living than England, which explains the lower crime rate.
I also understand that in Victorian England, the penalties were harsh. The death penalty was meted out not just for murder but for a slew of offenses, even minor ones by today's standards. That did not stop crime did it? In fact I read somewhere that in those days pickpockets did a roaring trade while they were watching the hangings in public!
This brutality is not a crime reduction plan for any decent self respecting country in this day and age. And one thing they have to understand is that cruelty begets cruelty. And those who are going to be subjected to it may well say that they too will do as they want, since if they are caught they will be subjected to it anyway. If you are going to be beaten so badly and put away for so long, we might as well make the effort worth while.
With the number of Singaporeans who have been beaten and let loose in public, I wonder whether the man next to you at the MRT has had his butt beaten?
If it is not too rude, should we ask the man next to you "Hey, have you been beaten lately!How many beatings were they?"
What sort of a first world island is that! No wonder anyone with any means are getting out of it fast.
Thank God, when I was in Lee Kuan Yew's jail for criticizing his judge Belinda Ang Saw Ean, I wasn't beaten. There is no beating yet for criticizing a Singaporean judge in that island. But all that may change if there were any more Gopalan Nairs going around criticizing his judges. According to their strange reasoning, they may have to beat future Singaporean judge criticizers to solve the problem!
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