Are we really living in an authoritarian city-state?

Recently, the vandalism charges made against Swiss national Oliver Fricker living in Singapore as an expat has made headlines again in Singapore as well as the European countries, particularly in his hometown in Switzerland. And the whole issue on human rights (anyone caught with vandalism offence in Singapore will be caned and sent to jail), as well as the strict rules that Singapore implements is brought up again. This time round though, it is different from the American teenager who was caned in1998 for the vandalism offence. Many Europeans gave comments that while they did not support coporal punishments in Singapore they believe that those who were caught vandalising should not be let off easily as they do not value the public property and do not understand the social values in the society. Are our rules too strict? Why does such minor cases creating such a hoo-haaaa around the globe? Personally, I feel that caning should be banned in Singapore as it is true that in such a modern age, caning is too “un-modern” to begin with. Singapore is a sophisticated and civilised city, and I believe our rules should change too. However, I do not agree with people’s belief that we are too authoritative? Where did our clean and squeaky image on the streets come from? Where did our clean and spotless MRT trains come from? Without our stiff fines Singapore’s streets and public transport will become the same state as those you see in other major cities around the world like New York or London. Unless you are a Japanese, and I agree the Japanese are really a bunch of disciplined people, really they are the most well-disciplined group of people I have ever seen. There are literally no litter on the streets, an there are no rubbish bins at all! They keep their litter in their bag until they reach home. So this leave many to wonder will Singaporeans adhere to the strict rules that the Singapore government implement, or they will become like what many spoilt childrean do when parents are too strict, they become rebellious?

To clear the mindset of foreigners, I am a Singaporean whom I believe is almost as free as any other democratic country. I have my rights to have a good home, my rights of almost-free education, rights of freedom of speech on the internet, (if not why I am writing all these). NO. We are not living in an authoritative city-state. You dont see policemen beating up people on the streets. You dont see me getting caned so easily for dropping my sweet wrapper on the floor. (I never do that. I love my country so much, it hurts to see litter on my streets). People are getting the wrong information from the western press about Singapore’s oppressive policies and authoritarian rule by the government. The only problem we have is the lack of opposition in Singapore. And the opposition parties in Singapore that are constantly silenced by the government like Chee Soon Juan deserve to be punished. They make pointless claims and remarks without evidence. I bet they themselves are useless and will not be able to serve the country in any way if they are in power. They can say anything but will never make things happen themselves.

Singapore is such a small country. If we let ourselves become Thailand or Japan, where the power struggle is clearly evident, then we are digging our own graveyards. I will never let protesters burn down Orchard Road, like what some Thai people did to their own shopping streets. They are seriously not using any brains. Thats not the way to protest.

Come on, as long as I am living in a first world country, with GDP per capita one of the highest in the world, great infrastructure, good transport system and one of the best education systems in the world, do I freaking care if I have no freedom of speech? It is just like some chocolate chips on the whole ice-cream cake. I can do without them on the cake.

3 thoughts on “Are we really living in an authoritarian city-state?

  1. You mean “authoritarian”, not “authoritative”. I agree that we’re no longer an authoritarian state–but authoritative is still a fairly apt description (though one does wonder at times given the declining competence of our leaders!).

  2. I think freedom of speech is important. Even though Singapore is progressing well economically into a first world country, our people are not. Talking about discipline, courtesy, graciousness, work ethics, I think a majority of us are no where near being first class.

    In fact, many who feel suppressed cannot be bothered anymore because they know their actions will not make a change. This becomes a common mentality that is passed on from one to another, from generations to generations. Since their ideas are not spoken and not developed upon with community participation, nothing much can change.

    Yet, despite saying that, even with a relaxation of media control and more freedom in speech, the local scene did not turn much better too. Look at stomp, it is full of crap. Our people do not know how to fully utilise their freedom in speech to make decent contributions to the society. So I think it wouldn’t help even if we had more freedom in speech, because we do not have the culture within us yet.

  3. Yes, thats why this should have been cultivated in us long time ago. Now that everyone is used to the lack of freedom of speech, we are not really bothered by the fact that we are unable to voice out our opinions. One recent protest on the price of the world cup on starhub and singtel was totally unsuccessful as there were only 200 people at the protest site. So this shows that while Singaporeans now are given a chance to speak up, no one seems to be bothered about it. So what should we do? Oh no we are doomed. 😦 As what history says, no city-state survives for more than a 100 years. I am not going to let that happen man.

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