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The law being used to silence critics, uniquely Singapore

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Postby earthfriendly » Thu, 28 Jun 2007 1:25 pm

ET, I was responding to Huggy's question on China.

I was first to mention it. If you read my thread, I was saying measuring SG govt against western system govt may not work since they have different way of looking at the world. And not confined to SG but east Asia too. Hence China was raised.

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Postby earthfriendly » Sat, 30 Jun 2007 2:35 pm

American magazine Time admits its mistake in a 25-page feature: Hong Kong's return did not lead to its death" - this was the trendy headline printed in bold type in the major domestic news media this week. And not just as the lead story for newspapers - it even made a rare appearance on CCTV's Network News.


As HK celebrates its 10 yr handover to China, chinese media revisits Time magazine's prediction 10 yr ago, which predicted its death. On the other hand, many overseas chinese did not think communist takeout would have to spell the end of once vibrant hong kong. We just don't think China would be foolish enough to impose its type of govt on a society that is free and prosperous. They came up with "one country, two systems". Once again, very different views and prediction between east and west.

However, many hongkongers themselves were quite apprehensive and migrated oversea prior to takeover but many did return when coast was clear. And there were some fallouts for being under China. Being the world's factory. china also spread its pollution problem to HK.

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 03 Jul 2007 12:21 am

earthfriendly wrote:What is political freedom? My definition may not be conventional (western?). For me it is not about affiliating with a political party or declaring my position to the world. It is about opportunity to provide feedback to the govt and have them consider my suggestions.


"As citizens of the country, we do not give "feedback". We have the right to tell the government what we want or don't want as public policy. We have the right not to be intimidated or threatened." -CSJ

I believe the govt will introduce measures to allow for greater freedom but only in their own terms. Not what an external source or west dictate to them.

The "external source" you're referring to are the citizens of Singapore, and yes, I agree it's obvious that the government has no intention of following anything other than their own terms.
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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 03 Jul 2007 12:21 am

earthfriendly wrote:I understand what you meant regarding the wartime cruelty of the Japanese. But that’s not what I was referring to. Why did the American Japanese get singled out? Why didn’t they intern the American Germans?


You know, given that you keep attempting to cite American history to justify your claims, you might want to read up on it a little. Start here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Ame ... rld_War_II

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required 300,000 German-born U.S. resident aliens to register with the federal government and restricted their travel and property ownership rights. Under the still active Alien Enemy Act of 1798, the United States government interned nearly 11,000 German Americans between 1940 and 1948.
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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 03 Jul 2007 12:29 am

ututu wrote:As matter of fact whole ex-USSR is the perfect example that rapid Westernization DOES NOT work, when the system however bad it was is switfly destroyed it takes an awful amount of time to build something else in its place and until then in that vacuum there is pretty bad stuff is going on.

Now it's your turn to overgeneralize -- some bits of the ex-USSR, eg. Estonia, are doing very well indeed. There's also a clear correlation between the amount of rapid "Westernization" (economic and political liberalization) done and the progress of the country: one of Ukraine's main problems is that the corrupt Soviet nomenklatura survived on post-independence in the form of Kravchuk, Kuchma, Yanukovich and the oligarchs who supported them, throttling any attempts for real democracy or economic freedom.
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Postby ututu » Tue, 03 Jul 2007 11:19 am

jpatokal wrote:
ututu wrote:As matter of fact whole ex-USSR is the perfect example that rapid Westernization DOES NOT work, when the system however bad it was is switfly destroyed it takes an awful amount of time to build something else in its place and until then in that vacuum there is pretty bad stuff is going on.

Now it's your turn to overgeneralize -- some bits of the ex-USSR, eg. Estonia, are doing very well indeed. There's also a clear correlation between the amount of rapid "Westernization" (economic and political liberalization) done and the progress of the country: one of Ukraine's main problems is that the corrupt Soviet nomenklatura survived on post-independence in the form of Kravchuk, Kuchma, Yanukovich and the oligarchs who supported them, throttling any attempts for real democracy or economic freedom.


Perhaps, but Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were annexed by Stalin just a year before Nazi Germany attacked USSR in Jun-Jul of 1940. NKVD killed and exiled tens of thousands but still didn't manage inflict irrecoverable loss to political elite. Poland and other eastern europe fell to communists in 1945 just five years after Baltic states so I personally would classify Baltic states as part of Estern Europe taken over by communists just 5 years before the rest of Eastern Europe met the same fate. Overall they still have a generation that knows how democracy should look like and how it is supposed to work. That is why Poland, Estonia and others had fewer problems than true ex-Soviet remnants. Also unlike any other true ex-soviet republic on the cusp of USSR collapse, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania did have political movements for separation and independence that had substantial popular support (1987 "Singing revoltuion" for independance had more than 20% of entire population participate day after day) just like they had in Poland ( "Solidarity" movement that started in Poland in 1980) or other Eastern European countries. In 1989 Estonia legislative body did pass several resolutions that challenged communists grip on power. That is why rapid democratization is a myth, democratic movements were grass root efforts long before (at least a decade) USSR collapsed and they had wide popular support, that is why communist apparatchiks were swiftly tossed out as soon as threat of USSR intervention was gone and they were replaced by leaders of those popular movements. Contrast that with Ukraine. External shocks that just ever so slightly speeded up demise of old structures but there were new structures already in place. Raze it then build anew approach is unlikely to work, you pour new foundation and build first story and then you can crash the old walls when building state structures. It does help when decent foundation is still intact like it was in Eastern Europe and Baltic states, it survived some 40 years under communists but I'm wondering what would have happenned if USSR collapsed 30 year later than it did or Stalin killed (directly or by mismanagement) 30-40% of population instead of 5-10%.

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Postby earthfriendly » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 6:52 am

jpatokal wrote:
earthfriendly wrote:What is political freedom? My definition may not be conventional (western?). For me it is not about affiliating with a political party or declaring my position to the world. It is about opportunity to provide feedback to the govt and have them consider my suggestions.


"As citizens of the country, we do not give "feedback". We have the right to tell the government what we want or don't want as public policy. We have the right not to be intimidated or threatened." -CSJ


As said, that's just my personal interpretation. Yeah much shallower, placid and boring than your quote. But then, you and me are from very different worlds. I was raised in SG and politics was never in my agenda. I am more concern with issues that confront me in my daily lives like stable govt, low crime rate, education, affordable health care, govt road or transportation projects to alleviate the horrendous traffic that does not take over a decade (bureaucracy or endless meetings to gather consensus ???? ) in the making so hubby can come home a bit early to his family ... I know, I am the boring type.

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Postby earthfriendly » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 7:00 am

jpatokal wrote:
earthfriendly wrote:I understand what you meant regarding the wartime cruelty of the Japanese. But that’s not what I was referring to. Why did the American Japanese get singled out? Why didn’t they intern the American Germans?


You know, given that you keep attempting to cite American history to justify your claims, you might want to read up on it a little. Start here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Ame ... rld_War_II

The Alien Registration Act of 1940 required 300,000 German-born U.S. resident aliens to register with the federal government and restricted their travel and property ownership rights. Under the still active Alien Enemy Act of 1798, the United States government interned nearly 11,000 German Americans between 1940 and 1948.


Interesting to note that there were other alien enemies too though the number is significantly lower than the American Japanese interns as a single group.

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Postby jpatokal » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 11:37 pm

earthfriendly wrote:
jpatokal wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_American#World_War_II


Interesting to note that there were other alien enemies too though the number is significantly lower than the American Japanese interns as a single group.


Very interesting, and if you bothered to click to link, you might even find out why.

After two or three generations in America the Germans assimilated to American customs--some of which they heavily influenced--and switched their language to English. ... German Americans who had been born overseas were the subject of some suspicion and discrimination during the war, although prejudice and sheer numbers meant they suffered as a group generally less than Japanese Americans. ... President Franklin D. Roosevelt however kept his promise to German Americans that they would not be hounded as in 1917–18. ... The war evoked strong patriotic sentiments among German Americans, few of whom had any contacts with distant relatives in the old country.

Contrast this with Japanese immigration, which began only in 1890, under 50 years before the war started.
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Postby jpatokal » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 11:39 pm

earthfriendly wrote:As said, that's just my personal interpretation. Yeah much shallower, placid and boring than your quote. But then, you and me are from very different worlds.

You have no idea what world I was raised in. (Sure, it wasn't Singapore, but it's not what you expect either.)

I was raised in SG and politics was never in my agenda. I am more concern with issues that confront me in my daily lives like stable govt, low crime rate, education, affordable health care, govt road or transportation projects to alleviate the horrendous traffic ...


Yes, I sure can tell you've been raised in Sg. The word political comes from "policy", as in things done by the government, and everything you list is a political issue. But in Singapore, of course, "political issue" means "disagreeing with the Garmin", which will get you whacked, so the only safe thing to do is give "feedback", very very politely.
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 07 Jul 2007 12:02 am

jpatokal wrote:Very interesting, and if you bothered to click to link, you might even find out why.

After two or three generations in America the Germans assimilated to American customs--some of which they heavily influenced--and switched their language to English. ... German Americans who had been born overseas were the subject of some suspicion and discrimination during the war, although prejudice and sheer numbers meant they suffered as a group generally less than Japanese Americans. ... President Franklin D. Roosevelt however kept his promise to German Americans that they would not be hounded as in 1917–18. ... The war evoked strong patriotic sentiments among German Americans, few of whom had any contacts with distant relatives in the old country.

Contrast this with Japanese immigration, which began only in 1890, under 50 years before the war started.


JP,

I can relate to this one very easily. My Father was 1st Generation German-American. His parents immigrated from Germany following WWI. Dad was born in the US and as such he speaks no German (like you mentioned, his parents quit speaking German when the landed at Ellis Island in 1923). When he enlisted in the Navy however, they would not post him on a vessel headed for the European Theater of war but was instead in the invasion landing of Okinawa.

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Postby La grande boucle » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 2:32 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:Many international companies that invest here cite strong governance as a key factor in their decision.


Not strong governance, but merely political stability. Now the way this stability is being enforced here is a different matter.

Wind In My Hair wrote:Amnesty International would do much better convincing potential investors or exisiting investors to boycott Singapore. When the government is hit economically, things will start to change pretty fast.


The nail on the head.

This country is after all called "Singapore Pte Ltd."

Wind In My Hair wrote:But of course, I have no political opinion one way or the other. :wink:


A pity, as I have seen very few Singaporeans with such intelligent and at the same time humourous comments.

I'd say: Wimh for president!

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Postby LT » Wed, 18 Jul 2007 3:51 pm

La grande boucle wrote:This country is after all called "Singapore Pte Ltd."


I agree with you on this.... There are a lot of other aspect abt Singapore that is not "allowed" to be say online, else I might get sue by the gahment... :roll:
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Postby phil30k » Fri, 11 Jan 2008 12:39 pm

Just a caution on Earthfriendly's post.

I too think Chee is trying to accomplish something and that he's doing it wrongly. I think this may be closer to the Singaporean mindset and all Singaporeans likely believe some variation of this and we really only debate the details.

I think in Earth's posts he has developed his arguments in a direction Singaporeans don't normally go. Nothing wrong with that, the points and counter points are still an interesting read.



:)

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Postby phil30k » Fri, 11 Jan 2008 1:03 pm

Also I think we've lost track of the original thread.

I am sure that instances of using the law to silence critics has occurred in other countries as well.

So as it has not taken place soley in Singapore, it follows that it cannot be considered "uniquely" Singaporean.

Sorry to be a party pooper.


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