First they came for the dog lovers, and I did not speak out because I am a cat owner.
The Singapore blogosphere is reacting strongly to the sedition charges against the two Singaporeans who made racist comments on bulletin boards and blogs. There are good roundups at From a Singapore Angle, commentary and trackbacks at Tomorrow.sg, a truly awe-inspiring list of links from Elia Diodati. Outside of the Lion City, former Singapore resident A.M. Mora y Leon muses at Publius Pundit and the story has hit Slashdot.
Regardless of whether or not racism is punishable under the terms of the Singapore sedition act (and it does seem to be) it is disturbing that the government has chosen this particular rule to punish someone for posting messages on a dog-lovers forum. That’s especially so given that the law hasn’t been used in a decade.
Those jailed under the Internal Security Act for plotting to blow up a Singaporean mass-transit station were seeking maximum fatalities and, in the long run, to bring the island into an extended caliphate. Still, the PAP decided to save the sedition charge for the ignorant potty-mouth poster at doggielover.com.
If the government thinks a few posts at a dog-lovers forum will "upset racial harmony" more than an Islamist terrorist bomb plot, I fear the PAP is more paranoid and out of touch than I had thought.
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.
Laws that are enforced arbitrarily are not just laws. If the state does not prosecute those who’ve similarly violated the law, then the judicial system in the state is arbitrary and possibly corrupt. This happens everywhere for small crimes (such as drug possession in the US or Canada), and should be corrected. But for the big ones like sedition, sticking to precedent is especially important. Laws that are not enforced should be scrapped or adjusted. Else, it is arbitrary justice. . . and arbitrary justice is injustice.
Usually I’m a defender of Singapore and, believe it or not, the PAP. The latter has, again, embarrassed me.
For those who come here for cheesecake, instead we offer a little beef… Hard Gay vs Yahoo! Japan.:
The story-line of this sketch is as follows: A character called “Hard Gay” (by comedian Masaki Sumitani
aka “Lazer Ramon”) thinks that the “Hoo!” in Yahoo! is stolen from his
often used exclamation and goes to visit Yahoo! headquarters to try to
get a deal. He wants to be in their ads, even goes to prove that he’s
popular by auctioning off his hat to Yahoo! online auction site.
On Yahoo, ACB provides a link to download the Shi Tao verdict.
On Japan, AsiaPundit welcomed the LDP’s victory, Curzon explains why the rout of the Democrats was not such a bad thing.:
Remember that Koizumi’s crushing victory is compounded by the fact that
it all began with him expelling no fewer than 30 members of his own
party, and replacing many of the old politicians with reform-minded
youngsters. The LDP will,
for the forseeable future, be a party of center-right reformists with a
mild nationalist streak. Koizumi is expected to push through an agenda
to clean up Japan’s appalling public sector. But this shift is not a
permanent entrenchment of LDP power, and the rebuke to the opposition has taught the opposition that
they can’t get away with vague promises to “change Japan by changing
the party in power.” In the long term, this is welcome news for
Japanese democracy: prune the orchard and the best trees survive.
They keep the stolen money, and their wives are shipped back to China. How long it will take to bring over their mistresses?:
Two former Bank of China officials who fled with their families to the
United States to escape embezzlement charges have rejected a plea
bargain jointly arranged by Chinese and American authorities,
co-operation which could pave the way for further such deals.
The US State Department, working with the central government, offered
Xu Guojun and Xu Chaofan, two former managers at the Bank of China’s
Kaiping branch in Guangdong, a deal whereby if they returned to the
mainland to plead guilty, their wives would not be deported for
This summer, the major Japanese brewers have all been pushing their new "third beer"
products. I was motivated to sample them by the relative price–about
¥600 for a six-pack, as opposed to at least ¥1200 for malt beer.
"third beer" boom was sparked by Sapporo, which launched a beverage
called Draft One in February 2004. Made with protein extracted from
peas, Draft One’s selling point is its light taste and drinkability.
Meanwhile, Kirin’s Nodogoshi Nama, made with soybean protein, touts its
good flavor and crispness. Asahi’s Shin Nama, which uses soy peptide
and a yeast that the company also employs in beer making, offers a dry
finish. And Suntory’s Super Blue, which contains low-malt beer mixed
with liquor distilled from wheat, has a crisp, refreshing taste.
I’ve now sampled all of the above-listed "third beers"–plus Sapporo’s new low-calorie, "high fiber" Slims–and
the only six-packs I could finish were Sapporo’s Draft One and Asahi’s
Shin Nama. And if the weather hadn’t been so hot and muggy, I’m not
sure I could have accomplished even that much.
It was hot yesterday, and so some mainland
Chinese male tourists pulled up their shirts to display their flesh.
Some people pulled up their long pants to turn them into shorts just to cool
down. Others squat by the roadside to chat. Still others take off
their shoes and put their feet on another chair to rest. But the Disney
employees did not interfere with their behavior. There was a SUV on
exhibit outside Tomorrow’s World, and a mainland Chinese male just climbed
right inside to get his photograph taken.
A Disneyland cleaner told the reporter that
the place was obviously filthier than the rehearsal days before, including
when 30,000 people showed up for the Community Chest day. There were
cigarette stubs, water bottles, tissue papers and chewing gum
everywhere. He said that yesterday, he even saw a mainland tourist about
to throw a lit cigarette butt into the garbage can. Fortunately, an
employee stopped him in time or else a fire might have been started.
A local tourist named Mr. Chan works in the
tourism industry. He said that mainland tourist do not mind their
manners and they may affect the image of Disneyland, causing even more
negative news for the beleaguered theme park. Ms. Wong from Hong Kong
said that Disneyland must have "figured out that they would be invaded by
mainland tourists," so she anticipated to see mainlanders spitting and
smoking everywhere inside the theme park.
Photo via Worth1000.
AsiaPundit agrees with Indaus, though he finds it awkward to say… save the swastika! In East Asia it’s commonly reversed, but it has no real association with Nazism for those who consider it a religious symbol.:
The furore created by Prince Harry’s latest act of stupidity, ie: dressing up in a Nazi party costume, has led to calls for the outright ban on all displays of the Swastika symbol. This would be an extremely ignorant act, because most people dont realise the fact that the Swastika is actually a ancient Vedic Hindu symbol of wellbeing that Adolf Hitler hijacked to serve his own cause of Aryan supremacy.
Finally, if you’re driving through Tianjin in a minivan, please remember that it’s illegal to transport giraffes.
AsiaPundit should be a group blog, but most of the co-pundits are MIA, and aside from Manuel (with the excellent Philippine roundups) and the recent adddition from Gordon, this has been pretty much a solo effort lately.
Again, this is a sick day, and I should be in bed. But there are more than 10 co-pundits and none have bothered to post so I feel obligated.
There will be a short change of author status and a small cull of non-contributing pundits. Few are getting booted, but promotions and demotions are in order. Other contributors are still welcome ( contact: asiapundit @ gmail . com).
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