t Double Yellow's Musings: Racism in Singapore Blogosphere – Some Lessons
The warped mind of Double Yellow craves for humor everyday. His daily dose comes from The Straits Times, The Sunday Times, Today, Channelnewsasia, etc. He also thinks that because of this preamble, this blog will never get featured in the local media. And of course, please read the Disclaimer before embarking on the journey.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Racism in Singapore Blogosphere – Some Lessons

It’s all over the papers and websites. Two people kenna charged over using racist remarks on their blog and some forums. The usual deliberation that is shaping up in Singapore blogosphere is whether this is a setback on the infamous “freedom of speech” and “opening up Singapore” issues. While these can be debated (with no conclusion) until the PAP loses power end of the world, I feel there are few more things that can be learnt from this episode....

Blogosphere is Public Domain: No amount of squealing that what you write on a website is private is going to get you anywhere. Irrespective of a password-protected webpage, you can be charged based on what you write. More importantly, you cannot retract your statements. Say once oredi, tattooed for life. So, think before you ink.

Sedition is different from Defamation: Many bloggers are comparing the PSC scholar incident (where he allegedly defamed a top Singapore civil servant) with this one. Defamation and sedition are two different things - the former attacks a specific person or company while the latter seeks to (intentionally or otherwise) incite people against a particular target group. Hence weighing one against the other is like comparing apples to oranges.

The very act of Writing makes you Accountable: Under the Sedition Act in Singapore, the state is not obliged to show that someone’s view turned racist because of what you wrote. The very fact that you wrote it renders you liable under the law.

Not Everyone needs be Charged: Arguing that other people at various forums made worse racist comments is no defence. The Attorney General I guess has the power to choose who he wants to haul into court and on what charge.

Racism exists because of Race: You can alter the way you dress, change your job, amend your political loyalties and even choose another religious faith. But you can’t change your race. I wonder whether racism has something to do with the existential nature of race. Maybe if we avoid using race as a way to manage Singapore society, it could help in alleviating racist attacks.


Blogger jeffyen said...

Just a small note about the second point. There are really two incidents. One is ex-PSC scholar AcidFlask's supposedly defamation case with A*STAR. This case didn't involve racist stuff.

The other is a PSC scholar called CZ, and his blog had quite extremes postings of racism. He was subsequently reprimanded by the PSC.

Yeah, it's getting confusing. :)

9:53 PM  
Blogger mooiness said...

What about XX's KL post where she threatens to hit a certain ethnic group with a pig, an animal that is most offensive to their religion? ;)

10:14 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey jeff, thanx for highlighting the CZ case. But I guess the decision on whether to prosecute or not depends very much Attorney General. Not sure on how the AG might decide if the person in question is a PSC scholar.

10:52 PM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hey mooiness, i guess XX's post could be construed as seditious. But again the decision to prosecute lies with the AG's chambers.

If I were XX, I would write a post with an apology and begin calling those ppl who owe me favors :)

10:54 PM  
Blogger Elia Diodati said...

Trackback: e pur si muove, Bloggers Charged Under Sedition Act

11:16 PM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

Trackback: From a Singapore Angle

11:45 PM  
Blogger wingéd densetsu said...

Let's make our own national costume, abolish races in singapore and called everyone in singapore "singgies" XD

Definition singgies: [plural]People originating from the island country of Singapore.

2:39 AM  
Blogger doubleyellow said...

hahaha wingéd densetsu, interesting term that... "singgies" :) i think it will catch on... :p

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

whatever it is chinks down here relly sucks

8:32 PM  

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