Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Singapore. More weird laws

Ladies and Gentlemen,

For someone living in the United States, some of the happenings one reads in the island of Singapore would seem very weird indeed.

Let me tell you what happened. Singapore's state controlled newspaper the Straits Times on line edition of July 16, 2009 has this story "Man charged over banners". It is abut Mr. Zeng Guoyuan, 55 years of age, who coincidentally I had met before when he contested the national elections there as a Workers Party candidate. The newspaper report claims he had pasted 2 pictures of the recently captured escaped prisoner Mas Selamat, one on a wall of a shop at MacPherason with the words "dead" written on it; another on the wall of a shop at Toa Payoh. A week later sometime in December 2008, he is alleged to have pasted another similar picture of the man on the same wall with a "charge Sheet", whatever that is.

It is also alleged that he refused to turn himself in a few times to Tanglin Police Station.

From here in California, I or anyone else in the United States would probably ask "What is the big deal"? OK, the man pasted a picture on some walls. If you don't like it just take it down! But why go the trouble of arresting him and charging him in court. What has he done after all? Killed 10 people? What is the point of arresting him and charging him in court for that, and what is more, making it headline news in Singapore's state controlled press?

We know that Singapore has some very odd laws, the most famous one being criminalizing chewing gum! Now we have this. It is major offence that will result in your being charged in court and your case made the headline news in that island if you so much as posted a picture on any wall in Singapore.

Or is this man being singled out for punishment and shame because he was a member of the Worker's Party and not Lee Kuan Yew's party?

If you are a thinking person within the island, take my advice. Get out of that island. It is a weird place. But contrary to what you may think, according to the regime of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, it has the best legal system in the world! Well, if you own and control the entire media in the country like Lee Kuan Yew does, you can say anything you want whenever you want.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914

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Despondent said...

I agree with you that the police in Singapore is always over-reacting and wants to keep the people in tight control.

Of course, the police is taking orders from the political masters.

jamestan said...


I think you (American) is not the only one.

For an Aussie like me, I also find Singapore laws weird.

If I chose to call LKY a despot, what crimes have I committed as a Human Rights activist. Well, I don't have parliamentary privileges, but I have the freedom to express myself.

In Australia, if I call Rudd some derogatory name, the police would have either laugh with me or ask me to shut up for creating a nuisance, not bring back to the station for questioning.

Does Singapore still follow the English laws or have they switched to North Korean's.

(Sing to THIS OLD MAN)
LEE old fart
Your time is up
What else can you de-ci-mate
So, pack your bags
and drop out of my sight
and don't come back
till you have died

Anonymous said...

That is so weird.
Arresting someone for putting up some banners or signs.

mycroft said...

Weird? Nah, nothing weird about Singapore's pathetic rules. They're designed to keep the peasants in their place with harsh penalties for the slightest sign of defiance. Give them an inch and they'll take a mile, don't you know. Petty officialdom is alive and well in that little corner of paradise.

Here's a fine example: an ordinary member of the public being fined $30 simply for having a sweet in her mouth on the MRT:

Woman fined for sucking sweet on MRT


Technically that flouts the rules against 'Eating and Drinking on the MRT' - a dastardly crime punishable with a $500 fine. Any judge in any other democratic country would have had some sharp words for an official foolish enough to waste his time on such a trivial (and harmless) matter as sucking a candy. Not so in Singapore.

Observe the cheerfully smug reporter, the hypocritically pious enforcers, and most of all notice the cringing object of their scorn. Not a one showed anger and outrage at the pettiness of the charge. People averted their faces and accepted the unfairness of the punishment like little children too feeble to fight back.

There, in that one little snapshot, you have the sense of helplessness induced by the police state of Singapore in a microcosm.

Anonymous said...

Well, i would say my country has weird laws. As a fellow Singaporean, sometimes I feel ashamed of living here.

But one thing I would like to clarify about this chap here Mr Zeng. We used to live across his house and he is very notorious for being a bad neighbour and assaulting in public. Not to mention he was once charged for sexual harrassment. The whole street knows him and thank god i moved out.