Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shame on you Switzerland.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Singapore's state controlled newspaper or propaganda sheet, the Straits Times online edition of Aug 18, 2010 has the story "2 more months for vandal". It is the story of Swiss man, Oliver Fricker, presently jailed in Singapore for painting graffiti on a Singapore train 2 months ago.

He was sentenced to a harsh 5 months in jail, in a city state despised and mocked internationally for it's over the top punishments of beatings (canings), long prison sentences and hangings for even seemingly minor offences.

While he was serving sentence, the Swiss President, Doris Leuthard, made an official visit to Singapore in July this year. Hitherto known for it's democracy and fair judicial system, most of us I think expected her to express her outrage at this totally disproportionate punishment of 5 months prison and caning, for an offense such as this, given a piece of her mind to her Singaporean counterpart and demand the immediate release of her citizen or else.

But you know what, she did no such thing. Instead of standing up for her citizen, she crawled and kowtowed before the Singapore President even claiming that the impending beating and the 5 month prison sentence was, believe it or not, "correct"! She was almost telling the Singapore government, please torture him and jail him as much as you want!

I guess, since this small tip pot city state called Singapore thinks it has got the green light from Switzerland to treat Fricker any way they want, todays same propaganda sheet, the Straits Times online edition has the story, "2 months more for vandal" telling us that the High Court there has increased the sentence to 7 months with the beatings. So Fricker is now going to be tortured with a cane 3 times on his buttocks until they bleed and jailed for 7 months in their notorious Changi jail.

Singapore's penchant for brutality and the sight of pain has been given a boost. Now they can say that Switzerland agrees with Singapore's blood curdling state sanctioned torture. Afterall their own president had called these punishments "correct"!

Shame on you Switzerland. You need not have stooped so low. Increased trade and business with Singapore surely is not worth that much.

Gopalan Nair
39737 Paseo Padre Parkway, Suite A1
Fremont, CA 94538, USA
Tel: 510 657 6107
Fax: 510 657 6914
Email: nair.gopalan@yahoo.com
Blog: http://singaporedissident.blogspot.com/

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Unknown said...

I say too - punishment is correct. Im tired in Vilnius from those vandals.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely agree with you and could not believe that Leuthard "sold out" her own citizen and gave the green light to the monsters in Singapore to beat Oliver Fricker. Greed is powerful--but so is shame and she deserves much shame.

Anonymous said...

i don't know whether it's what she should be doing. after all, switzerland being such a neutral state and all, i don't think they want to offend anyone, no matter how small sg is.

but jailing for anything more than a mth for vandalism IS a bit extreme. i mean. it's just paint for goodness sake. just get him to pay for the damages then. won't that be good enough?

I don't see how singapore get away with such things. i mean if your neighbour's kid came to your house to play with your child, and somehow manages to trash your house, won't you just ban that kid from coming over? would you initiate to cane that kid as your own? i highly doubt so. it's just not civilized.


Anonymous said...

If Leuthard had strongly opposed corporal punishment and made it clear to the S'poreans, they might have given him just a few months' jail (no caning).
It would also have turned up the pressure on the S'pore Gov to reduce their draconian laws in light of international scrutiny from the ongoing Shadrake trial and Yong Vui Kong's appeal for clemency.

Anonymous said...

At last I see a good woman-politician.

The last one that comes to my mind was Margaret Thatcher.

Anonymous said...

A good woman politician? What's good about letting some other country torture and jail you for 7 months for putting paint on a surface? Public property, not private, but public! Don't people pay taxes and stuff for the removal of any vandalism? I can't believe how anal the laws are in .sg and i keep telling everyone i know to NEVER EVER go there. So many more nicer places with decent laws for human beings. Torturing mens buttocks is so homo-erotic and ancient. GROW UP SINGAPORE! Did the act actually hurt anyone? No. 1 month in jail should have been more than enough. What a JOKE.... Most backwards place on earth? Probably... The JOKE of the world? For sure...

mycroft said...

It looks like a few sado-masochists here feel that a brutal flogging that physically scars a person for life is just the ticket for the heinous crime of scribbling on inanimate public property. For an offence that is unsightly but involves no physical violence - a misdemeanor in any civilised nation - they would have him bloodied within an inch of his life 'to teach him a lesson'. The rate of canings has risen inexorably from 602 in 1987 to 6,404 in 2007. So much for the efficacy of the message.

"In both Singapore and Malaysia, canings are inflicted so frequently that there are regular sessions at which groups of men are dealt with together. The men are made to squat in a line outside the caning room to await their turn."

"(Voice of America on 21 March 1994:) Miss Jones remembers the trauma reported by one man who came to Amnesty International after several strokes of the cane: 'he was shivering and perspiring with fear just before... and then during the caning, he remembers how it felt... it was like a tearing across his buttocks... he talked about how he screamed like a mad animal and how basically, it leaves festering and huge scars on his derriere... it swelled to twice its size and he was not able for weeks and weeks to wear clothing. The tremendous bruising black and blue of thighs. And he says to this day he still has nightmares about it. This happened when he was seventeen. He's now over 40. This isn't just a little spanking. This is truly traumatic. It may be easy for people to say "oh, this is simply a little pain and it'll go away". If one has undergone it, I think one can really understand the cruelty of it'."

"My buttocks then swelled to twice their normal size. My thighs went blue-black. I had to go without shorts for more than two weeks so that my wounds could heal. I couldn't sit on my buttocks or sleep on my back or bathe all this time either."
(Account of unidentified prisoner caned at age 17, New Paper, Singapore, 12 October 1988).

"(Going to the toilet) was the worst of all [...] I could not squat or even bend my knees. I got scared every time I got the urge [...] I tried not eating but this did not work. I still had to go and I had to do this standing up, holding my buttocks wide apart."

"The cane leaves huge red welts and permanent scars" (Straits Times, 8 April 1994).

For the kind of people who would think nothing of slapping a 3-year child for drawing on the wallpaper or have the hand of a thief lopped off for stealing a loaf of bread or stone a couple to death for the terrible sin of adultery, no arguments are possible. For others who still imagine that 3 'strokes' of a 4-foot long pre-soaked rattan cane is a relatively mild punishment, here is graphic, explicit detail with photos of raw bleeding buttocks and permanent scarring. Now, do you still feel this barbaric act of judicial corporal punishment a fair exchange just for painting a few pictures on a lousy train or overstaying your visa by 90 days?

Anonymous said...

What has really struck me about the Oliver Fricker saga is that it really seems No One came to his aid. His country (via Leuthard)gave him over to the barbarians, and even Amnesty, except for a statement that I saw on youtube, was relatively silent. I know that you always hear from those that want to see violence the loudest, but even some of the western reports from journalists seemed rather slanted. One in particular from Associated Press, after the appeal, added that Singapores tough laws did not scare away expatriates and foreigners, as if to encourage these brutal beatings. It almost seems that the rest of the civilised world is getting used to this un-civilised legalized brutality from Singapore. Not a good sign.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Nair,

It seems to me there is warped logic is this blog entry. Someone who blatantly breaks the law in any country ought to be punished. There is no exception to the rule. Unless you can propose a better way to handle Fricker, then all is fair and right.I would safely say he was aware of the consequences.

When you evaluate Singapore's rules, you have to analyse Singapore from within to see why such laws are enacted-that is because we are a small nation which aims to keep the social fabric tight.

Like in Rome, do as the Romans do. Like in Singapore, flout the law and pay the price.

Ethnocentric views from the Western government on Singapore have no place in Asia so as to speak. Western democracy is an alternative government form that has no Confucian ethics attached to it.

That is why Singapore collectively succeed in every economic crisis with a common goal. As for the western government, their economies are still languishing...

Anonymous said...

In response to the above :

When in Rome do as the Romans do, or Singaporeans-is all good and fine. However, countries in todays modern world interact with each other and there is an international consensus agreed upon how you treat prisoners. That is where Singapore finds itself the outcast nation. The East vs West argument is so old and not a valid reason and is just a desperate attempt to try to justify TORTURE!

mycroft said...

Dear Anon (Fri Aug 20, 06:43:00 PM PDT),

Have you not yet noticed that when the Internet came in the door, the lies and half-truths of your 50-year old propaganda message left by the window? Alan Shadrake has shown in Once a Jolly Hangman that there are indeed exceptions to the rule of draconian punishment if you're connected enough or are citizen of a country willing to stare down the Singapore thugs (as Julia Bohl's Germany did in the only language bullies understand: force). All native Singaporeans know for a fact that there is one rule for them and another rule for us; one Swiss standard of living for the elite, another void deck standard of living for the peasants.

With another couple of mouse clicks we can also confirm that other nominally Confucian societies like HK, Taiwan, and Korea have achieved every bit as much, in fact more, in-depth economic success as Singapore WITHOUT seeing any need to introduce fascist methods of governance. You are once more regurgitating that oft-repeated LKY lie that Singapore needs 'exceptionally strong government' (by which he means one-party rule) to succeed economically and that the virtues of prosperity and civil rights are mutually exclusive. If that were true then 3 decades of strong, repressive governments in Malaysia and Indonesia would have made those countries regional economic giants, wouldn't you say?

We're better educated today, wider travelled, and we can see how we are becoming like Orwell's 1949 nightmare vision of a negative Utopia - a grey, totalitarian world in which privacy does not exist, news is manufactured according to the authorities' will, and those with unorthodox ideas are brainwashed or driven into exile or put to death. Our children deserve better than that.

Anonymous said...

i am against caning someone for vandalism. rapists and molesters should be caned.