Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

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Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Singa Crew » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:08 pm UTC

Shortly after banning a book about the death penalty in Singapore, the PAP government has just banned a video recording of a speech by Dr Lim Hock Siew, who was detained for 20 years under the Internal Security Act in 1963.

In this video clip, Dr Lim informs his audience of the miscarriages of justice and the physical abuses that went on during his detention under the Internal Security Act.

Due to the unconstitutional ban imposed by the PAP government, it is now an offence for anyone to possess and distribute this video in Singapore. Anyone who commits the offence can be fined up to $10,000, or jailed up to two years, or both.

Link to video: http://vimeo.com/13443123

Links to articles about the banning of this video recording:

http://www.yoursdp.org/index.php/news/s ... siew-video

http://singaporerebel.blogspot.com/2010 ... other.html
Last edited by Singa Crew on Wed Jul 21, 2010 2:03 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Wed Jul 14, 2010 4:44 pm UTC

Hurry! Start an international petition to discipline Singapore! Bring UN pressure to bear! Let us end this vile dictatorship an....

...wait.

They're a Coalition of the WIlling American ally.

Nevermind. Official release: Nothing to see here, move along. How about those evil Iranians?
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:45 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Hurry! Start an international petition to discipline Singapore! Bring UN pressure to bear! Let us end this vile dictatorship an....

...wait.

They're a Coalition of the WIlling American ally.

Nevermind. Official release: Nothing to see here, move along. How about those evil Iranians?


Considering dictatorships, Singapore is likely one of the most benevolent ones, if it is considered one. Even so, I would like to question why you would call it vile. (especially when there are plenty of more applicable targets)

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Singa Crew » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:31 am UTC

Dear Kyrn,

Singapore most certainly is under dictatorial rule. The PAP has used the Internal Security Act to detain their political rivals for many years, sometimes decades, without trial or ever bringing a charge against the detainees. And now it is illegal for one single person to be involved in a public procession, as that would constitute an "illegal assembly". One person = Illegal assembly? And 2 years jail time for possessing a video clip? That's definitely dictatorial. Without a doubt, they are dictators.

I call a spade a spade.

Sure the Singapore dictators are smarter than most and they know all about using velvet gloves in conjunction with iron fists, but I wouldn't use the word 'benevolent' to describe them.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:24 pm UTC

I made a quick check on Wikipedia which defines dictatorship as an autocratic government controlled by an individual.

Whether PAP's suppression of opposition is agreeable or not, "dictatorship" is probably the wrong jargon for this (if Singapore is a dictatorship, then what would we call North Korea?) Suppressed freedom of speech such as the case of Dr. Lim may be considered mild when compared to other countries. Seeing the title "<country> bans political video clip" seems like something very common indeed. We may easily replace <country> = Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, France, Iran...

Still, maybe the right thing to do is to point out injustices such as these cases, and remind the public that no democratic government should be above the law or is free to write the law however it saw fit.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby SlyReaper » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:13 pm UTC

mercuryseven wrote:if Singapore is a dictatorship, then what would we call North Korea?


A dictatorship. Just because there exists a worse example of a thing doesn't mean the original subject matter isn't also that thing.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:17 pm UTC

SlyReaper wrote:
mercuryseven wrote:if Singapore is a dictatorship, then what would we call North Korea?


A dictatorship. Just because there exists a worse example of a thing doesn't mean the original subject matter isn't also that thing.


It's not a dictatorship in that it's not a single person exacting domination via self-sustaining power, instead it's a democracy wholly controled by an unequally powerful politcal party acting contrary to the best interests (in the sphere of freedom at least) of it's citizens. I belive the Economist (whose Economic Intelligence Unit helps Freedom House rate countries) terms this a "Hybrid Regime".
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:23 pm UTC

There are lots of places that are free in theory.

Singapore has coincidentally had the same ruling party since its 1959 independence.

So, while dictatorship might be technically, semantically wrong, it sure as heck is a tyranny. The Economist has always ascribed too much importance to economic freedom, and give tyrannies credit for being capitalist.

The "hybrid system" is still "not free" and there is no unpersecuted, legitimate opposition in the country, nor are elections free and open, nor are the people free from arbitrary detention and torture.

Not something I'd want to defend on a semantic argument.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Vaniver » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:54 pm UTC

Singapore is interesting. Very high economic freedom, very little political freedom; most people feel that the system works,* but there are no release valves for the people that don't, who value political involvement for its own sake, or who are deviant in some way (some judges are starting to question the value of punishing homosexuality, and that that is progress shows how bleak the situation is). It's one of the least corrupt countries in the world with one of the best justice systems in Asia, but it's illegal to even own a satellite dish that can view uncensored television.

Especially interesting is that Singapore is racially, religiously, and linguistically diverse, but has managed to avoid identity politics or violence. Neighboring countries have not been so lucky- and I can't tell whether it's just that as a wealthy port city-state Singaporeans are too comfortable to bicker over such things or if single-party control and repression of dissent by a political faction committed to multiculturalism has prevented them from going the way of their neighbors. If I had to bet, I would bet on the latter- polyglot ports have always been more tolerant than their surroundings because of their commercial interests, but to be almost always peaceful requires a step more.

*An American friend, traveling to Singapore, was asked what it was like to live in a country with such stringent punishments. Surprised, she asked what they meant, and the local gave the example of someone she knew who slapped her child in public, and had Child Services called on her (with the accompanying investigation). The tourist was taken aback, couldn't explain it well, and asked how they felt about the death penalty in Singapore. "It only applies to murderers, rapists, and those that try to smuggle drugs. We don't want them anyway!" Likewise, I imagine asking about gum would elicit the response "but it's so clean without it!"
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:19 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:Singapore is interesting. Very high economic freedom, very little political freedom; most people feel that the system works,* but there are no release valves for the people that don't, who value political involvement for its own sake, or who are deviant in some way (some judges are starting to question the value of punishing homosexuality, and that that is progress shows how bleak the situation is). It's one of the least corrupt countries in the world with one of the best justice systems in Asia, but it's illegal to even own a satellite dish that can view uncensored television.

Especially interesting is that Singapore is racially, religiously, and linguistically diverse, but has managed to avoid identity politics or violence. Neighboring countries have not been so lucky- and I can't tell whether it's just that as a wealthy port city-state Singaporeans are too comfortable to bicker over such things or if single-party control and repression of dissent by a political faction committed to multiculturalism has prevented them from going the way of their neighbors. If I had to bet, I would bet on the latter- polyglot ports have always been more tolerant than their surroundings because of their commercial interests, but to be almost always peaceful requires a step more.

*An American friend, traveling to Singapore, was asked what it was like to live in a country with such stringent punishments. Surprised, she asked what they meant, and the local gave the example of someone she knew who slapped her child in public, and had Child Services called on her (with the accompanying investigation). The tourist was taken aback, couldn't explain it well, and asked how they felt about the death penalty in Singapore. "It only applies to murderers, rapists, and those that try to smuggle drugs. We don't want them anyway!" Likewise, I imagine asking about gum would elicit the response "but it's so clean without it!"


Your forgetting civil liberties, different from political liberties.

Things like the right to a trial in front of a non-corrupt judge/ jury of your peers, not to be arbitrarily arrested by unaccountable police and thrown in front of the non-accountable judge who has power over life and death.

The right to not have your possessions or freedom arbitrarily removed by a corrupt official, or someone with whom you have a personal greivance.

The right to not be punished for being a "deviant" you did mention, especially since its been traditionally used as a crime of blackmail, abuse and fraud.

The right to be protected from organised crime backed by unaccountable political figures and their police.

Things like that.

We tend to forget the sort of petty venalities and corruptions that have always plauged unaccountable governments and which, in fact, were the sources for agitation for democracy in much of the world, including Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany etc etc and which still plague places like China and, I'd wager dollars to doughnuts, Singapore today.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby meatyochre » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:22 am UTC

Now if every single person in Singapore were to get caught watching this clip, they couldn't ALL be jailed (I could see Americans massing up to do something like this).

The problem is that they won't care enough to go out of their way and watch it cause they've been censored and brainwashed into political conformity :(
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:29 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:There are lots of places that are free in theory.

Singapore has coincidentally had the same ruling party since its 1959 independence.

So, while dictatorship might be technically, semantically wrong, it sure as heck is a tyranny. The Economist has always ascribed too much importance to economic freedom, and give tyrannies credit for being capitalist.

The "hybrid system" is still "not free" and there is no unpersecuted, legitimate opposition in the country, nor are elections free and open, nor are the people free from arbitrary detention and torture.

Not something I'd want to defend on a semantic argument.


Note that I did not outright deny the point of dictatorship (in the spirit of the thought: a single controlling group). What I question is the point of calling it "vile". Unlike many people who think that democracies are the best solution, I would rather like to question whether that is REALLY the case, since Singapore provides an excellent counterexample to such, offering the usual negative traits one might associate with lack of freedoms, while offering benefits which comes with lack of freedom as well. If the crux of your argument is just freedom, yet, Singapore is probably considered a failure, but if you consider the other factors such as economic growth, social peace, political stability, and standard of living, Singapore is generally among the top, a remarkable state for a country which practically started with nothing under 50 years ago.

meatyochre wrote:Now if every single person in Singapore were to get caught watching this clip, they couldn't ALL be jailed (I could see Americans massing up to do something like this).

The problem is that they won't care enough to go out of their way and watch it cause they've been censored and brainwashed into political conformity :(

Ruling by fear is not ruling by brainwashed, and I'm almost certain the punishment is a valid factor. Even so, not one single factor applies, especially since Singaporeans tend to be more educated than the average population.

(There's also the fact that we don't know just how much censorship and tracking the government does. But a hint: All those things Australia is doing regarding the Internet? It is likely to imitate Singapore. Though I know (I think) that Singapore doesn't actively persecute those who just occasionally knock against restricted sites.)

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:45 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:There are lots of places that are free in theory.

Singapore has coincidentally had the same ruling party since its 1959 independence.

So, while dictatorship might be technically, semantically wrong, it sure as heck is a tyranny. The Economist has always ascribed too much importance to economic freedom, and give tyrannies credit for being capitalist.

The "hybrid system" is still "not free" and there is no unpersecuted, legitimate opposition in the country, nor are elections free and open, nor are the people free from arbitrary detention and torture.

Not something I'd want to defend on a semantic argument.


Note that I did not outright deny the point of dictatorship (in the spirit of the thought: a single controlling group). What I question is the point of calling it "vile". Unlike many people who think that democracies are the best solution, I would rather like to question whether that is REALLY the case, since Singapore provides an excellent counterexample to such, offering the usual negative traits one might associate with lack of freedoms, while offering benefits which comes with lack of freedom as well. If the crux of your argument is just freedom, yet, Singapore is probably considered a failure, but if you consider the other factors such as economic growth, social peace, political stability, and standard of living, Singapore is generally among the top, a remarkable state for a country which practically started with nothing under 50 years ago.


I'm sorry and you're right. I have to apologise because, once again, my over dry sense of humour got the best of me.

When I did the "vile dictatorship" bit, I was indulging in my worst habit of free association. I mentioned it in relation to Iran because this is the sort of thing that would immediately raise enormous ire if it happened in Cuba or China or Iran or pick your favourite non ally of the United States.

However, Singapore being what it is, I expect a more muted response in relation to this incident. My target was our hypocracy when it comes to dealing with injustices abroad. We'll launch massive petitions to free opposition leaders or persecuted figures in Burma or Iran, but not in Singapore.

I should have been clearer. My bad. Generally, I agree with your characterisation of Singapore, which was balanced and well reasoned.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:52 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Your forgetting civil liberties, different from political liberties.
I'm so used to them being linked that I used them as synonyms, but you are right to consider them separately.

Le1bn1z wrote:We tend to forget the sort of petty venalities and corruptions that have always plauged unaccountable governments and which, in fact, were the sources for agitation for democracy in much of the world, including Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany etc etc and which still plague places like China and, I'd wager dollars to doughnuts, Singapore today.
This is why it's so interesting to me: they're seen as less corrupt than Canada. It may be that Transparency International doesn't care about the kinds of corruption we're discussing (their methodology may focus on commercially relevant corruption), or the Singaporean government is phenomenally good at sweeping things under the rug. But it's also possible that here is a form of enlightened despotism that actually works, and that's an outlier that demands explanation.

The primary value of democracy is in feedback,* and it seems impossible to me that a government can rule a thriving city for decades without feedback (that's at least one transition of every government employee and official, let alone all of the changes in the society itself). So in what ways does the PAP keep itself accountable, or is that even where accountability happens? Does it help that it's a citystate of five million, rather than a country of five million? It's got as many people as Norway but less than one five hundredth the space.

*Not just that subjects can shape their governments, but also that their perception of that ability shapes them as subjects. People pay more taxes voluntarily to governments they elect, among other things.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:55 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:
SlyReaper wrote:
mercuryseven wrote:if Singapore is a dictatorship, then what would we call North Korea?


A dictatorship. Just because there exists a worse example of a thing doesn't mean the original subject matter isn't also that thing.


It's not a dictatorship in that it's not a single person exacting domination via self-sustaining power, instead it's a democracy wholly controled by an unequally powerful politcal party acting contrary to the best interests (in the sphere of freedom at least) of it's citizens. I belive the Economist (whose Economic Intelligence Unit helps Freedom House rate countries) terms this a "Hybrid Regime".


This is probably drifting towards an argument about semantics. When I cited North Korea, I didn't say it's a worse example, but rather an altogether different form of government.

If we want to rant about "<country> banning political video clip", then Malaysia can rightly be considered a "worse example". For it has a similar form of government, having one dominating party (though opposition is reasonably strong), with even more stringent censorship rules. Its treatment towards the opposition isn't all praise-worthy either.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:01 am UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:Your forgetting civil liberties, different from political liberties.
I'm so used to them being linked that I used them as synonyms, but you are right to consider them separately.

Le1bn1z wrote:We tend to forget the sort of petty venalities and corruptions that have always plauged unaccountable governments and which, in fact, were the sources for agitation for democracy in much of the world, including Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany etc etc and which still plague places like China and, I'd wager dollars to doughnuts, Singapore today.
This is why it's so interesting to me: they're seen as less corrupt than Canada. It may be that Transparency International doesn't care about the kinds of corruption we're discussing (their methodology may focus on commercially relevant corruption), or the Singaporean government is phenomenally good at sweeping things under the rug. But it's also possible that here is a form of enlightened despotism that actually works, and that's an outlier that demands explanation.

The primary value of democracy is in feedback,* and it seems impossible to me that a government can rule a thriving city for decades without feedback (that's at least one transition of every government employee and official, let alone all of the changes in the society itself). So in what ways does the PAP keep itself accountable, or is that even where accountability happens? Does it help that it's a citystate of five million, rather than a country of five million? It's got as many people as Norway but less than one five hundredth the space.



Sorry, I should have emphasised the sources of agitation of Canada, Australia etc. back in the pre-democracy days. I'm talking about 1840s, when Joseph Howe pulled off the first peaceful transition into local Responsible Government for any colony anywhere in the world by fighting mass judicial corruption (also, why we take Habeas Corpus and jury trials so seriously up here...)

The impetus for the 1837 rebellions, for Howe's newspaper campaign for Responsible Government etc etc was not high-minded abstract ideals, but revulsion at the venality of corrupt, unaccountable government.

We forget how bad it really was, when we were a "Mixed system" and how much better it became when people were accountable.

Its the same sort of problem in Singapore today. And we never take this sort of thing seriously enough. However, I do believe that in the case of a Westminster democracy like Singapore, change can and should spring from within.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:11 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Your forgetting civil liberties, different from political liberties.

Things like the right to a trial in front of a non-corrupt judge/ jury of your peers, not to be arbitrarily arrested by unaccountable police and thrown in front of the non-accountable judge who has power over life and death.

The right to not have your possessions or freedom arbitrarily removed by a corrupt official, or someone with whom you have a personal greivance.

The right to not be punished for being a "deviant" you did mention, especially since its been traditionally used as a crime of blackmail, abuse and fraud.

The right to be protected from organised crime backed by unaccountable political figures and their police.

Things like that.

We tend to forget the sort of petty venalities and corruptions that have always plauged unaccountable governments and which, in fact, were the sources for agitation for democracy in much of the world, including Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Germany etc etc and which still plague places like China and, I'd wager dollars to doughnuts, Singapore today.


Other than that "life or death" bit (and counter terrorism acts) (and supposedly, some form of political acts), I'd note that you'll find most of these factors present in Singapore. The part of being a deviant? Being slowly phrased out, I'm guessing at most two generations, though you would expect some form of anti-deviancy from a community which basically started out as a group of conservative cultures; Compared to similar locations, we're still doing a LOT better.

Having said all that, I would like to point out that it is unfair to compare to the other smaller/lesser nations. Comparing to the bottom of the barrel only means you aren't the worse. We should be comparing to the top nations instead, and see how to improve.

Regarding feedback, there is more feedback than you think. Just because you don't speak out against the political status itself doesn't mean you cannot feedback on everything else, like pollution, environment, welfare, health-care, education, transportation, and everything else you can think of. Granted, the check and balances are somewhat hard to see. But you can think of this another way: the number of votes serves as a guideline on how well each constituency is doing: the less votes, means you are doing something wrong, and hence you need to communicate, and get back said votes. When playing with the system is easier and safer than gaming the system, the system works better overall.

And of course, there's the ultimate factor: There's very few resources here, and everywhere else looks pretty. If Singapore missteps, that would only lead to people just walking out. The only way to succeed is to do better.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:13 am UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:Sorry, I should have emphasised the sources of agitation of Canada, Australia etc. back in the pre-democracy days. I'm talking about 1840s
I understand; what I'm pointing out is that Singaporeans are more satisfied (on corruption grounds) with Singapore 'pre-democracy' than Canadians are with Canada post-democracy. Something is up here, and it doesn't seem like different standards (other countries with governments insulated from feedback score very poorly).
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:04 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:Sorry, I should have emphasised the sources of agitation of Canada, Australia etc. back in the pre-democracy days. I'm talking about 1840s
I understand; what I'm pointing out is that Singaporeans are more satisfied (on corruption grounds) with Singapore 'pre-democracy' than Canadians are with Canada post-democracy. Something is up here, and it doesn't seem like different standards (other countries with governments insulated from feedback score very poorly).


You should note that this is a "satisfaction and perception survey." Quite aside from the raised expectations that come from having an accountable government, and quite aside from the problems with such perception surveys accross cultures and linguistic groups to determine objective reality in general, if a man in a suit knocked on your door or some stranger called your home in a tyranny and said "Hi, I'd like to know your opinion. Do you believe your government to be corrupt and incompetent? I won't tell, I swear" what would your answer be?

I know mine. "Oh Great Leader, we adore thee, Sun and Moon made turn by your smmmmiiiillllleeeee....."

That's what's up.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Singa Crew » Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:15 pm UTC

Saying Singapore is under a dictatorship is not semantically wrong.

Mr Lee Kuan Yew has been in charge since the 60s. He was our Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. The world's longest serving Prime Minister... What does that tell you? Even when he later stepped down as Prime Minister in favor of Goh Chok Tong, he 'promoted' himself to Senior Minister. When his son, Lee Hsien Loong, became Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong became the Senior Minister. And what did Lee Kuan Yew do? He 'promoted' himself again to the rank of Minister Mentor (whatever that means). So he is still in the cabinet and very much in charge.

Many of you who are not natives of Singapore may be forgiven for not understanding the going-ons within Singapore's political arena. After all, which other country has such a thing as a 'Minister Mentor'? That's just about as tasteless as 'President For Life'.

Kyrn wrote:

"...but if you consider the other factors such as economic growth, social peace, political stability, and standard of living, Singapore is generally among the top..."

Apologists for the PAP like to cite those factors to defend the PAP regime. Don't talk to a regular Singaporean like myself about 'economic growth', please. Because while the State-owned paper keeps talking about 'growth', what we Singaporeans on the ground can see is just growth in bills and expenses! Growth in train and bus fares. Growth in taxi fares. Growth in food prices. Growth in medical bills. Growth in household bills. Growth in ministerial salaries. BUT NO GROWTH FOR OUR WAGES AND STANDARD OF LIVING!

Tell me what you mean by 'standard of living'? All we Singaporeans know is that a certain civil servant boasted of an expensive French trip while the country was in recession and that our ministers (who are the highest paid politicians in the world - just google the facts) can afford all sorts of nice things. But the majority of Singaporeans live in HDB ghetto estates. Many Singaporeans become homeless as a result of the obscenely high priced HDB apartments. So they are forced to camp out in tents. And what did the government do? Ministry officials went around with the police to chase the homeless away.

Now, the reason the Singapore government can go around boasting that we have very few to zero homeless people in Singapore is because we do not have a free press. Besides the independent bloggers and one or two foreign news agencies, there's no one to report on the plight of homeless people in Singapore. Is that what you meant by 'standard of living'?

And what about the rising number of MRT suicides? All those people in Singapore killed themselves because our standard of living is so high? Singapore is now one of the world's suicide capitals. See: http://www.yoursdp.org/index.php/news/s ... -we-become

And 'social peace'? Please. Singapore do not really have a low crime rate. Go google the term 'dark figures'. I repeat. We do not have a free press. Also, please consider that the PAP leaders are fond of looking good, so reports that put Singapore in a bad light are usually not presented for public scrutiny. It affects the number of tourists coming here to spend money, you see. How many times have the police ignored gang fights happening around HDB estates? How many thefts and assualts have been ignored? I believe recently there was a high profile case of a woman who got mugged on her way home. And what happened? The police did not want to take responsibility so they pushed it to the Town Council. But alas for the poor woman, the Town Council did not want to take responsibility as well! And another case which I posted to Sgforums. About a woman who complained about how ineffective the police were when it came to investigating the violent behavior of loan sharks bullying her.

And what about that time when police officers were attacked by 200 gangsters during a police raid? See: http://www.sgpolitics.net/?p=3890

You call it 'social peace' when gangsters can gather in such numbers and whack police officers? It happened way back in 2007 but was only reported recently. God knows how many such violent incidents are taking place but not reported!

Now let me tell those readers from outside of Singapore about the legendary effectiveness of the Singapore police. If you are an activist out to circulate critical messages about the government, then you can be sure of a swift response. There was one case, know locally as the Odex Protest (or something like that), when some Singapore otakus brought their action figures to a park. I believe they were just arranging the action figures on the ground to make it look like the toys were protesting. And that received swift response from the police. They arrived in 2 big riot trucks and the 'protesters' were approached by senior police officers.

On the other hand, violent crimes affecting the peasant class of Singapore, like myself, are not given such priority. There has been more than a few cases where the police will just tell civilians who got attacked or threatened that they (the police) cannot arrest people for assualt. So what I am saying is that it isn't a culture of complacency but rather a culture of misplaced priority. Making the PAP leaders feel and look good is more important than the lives of peasants like myself.

Social peace? Maybe there's social peace for our millionair ministers who can afford bodyguards round the clock, but not for 'peasants' like myself. And maybe 'social peace' for the PAP leaders who are not disturbed by the sight of protesters demanding freedom and democracy for Singapore.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:19 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:You should note that this is a "satisfaction and perception survey." Quite aside from the raised expectations that come from having an accountable government, and quite aside from the problems with such perception surveys accross cultures and linguistic groups to determine objective reality in general, if a man in a suit knocked on your door or some stranger called your home in a tyranny and said "Hi, I'd like to know your opinion. Do you believe your government to be corrupt and incompetent? I won't tell, I swear" what would your answer be?

I know mine. "Oh Great Leader, we adore thee, Sun and Moon made turn by your smmmmiiiillllleeeee....."

That's what's up.
But then why is China, where dissidents routinely disappear and the government is (I imagine) more controlling of the media, a 3.6? When you go down the list from the top, the next place with a suspicious political system is Hong Kong at 8.2 (I don't know how much democracy the PRC has managed to sap out of there), then 7 and below seems to be where most less well governed countries reside (the highest country in Africa is a 5.6). And it's not a "Oh, but China's survey is probably filled out by foreign businessmen who don't have to fear reprisal from the government," since Singapore has a massive percentage of foreigners and import/export business.

So we have an unfree republic that's less corrupt than almost every other country in the world, consistently, on more surveys than they have for most countries. It's possible but seems very unlikely that this is data manipulation or coercion of the population. Population size seems to be an factor: the countries whose confidence intervals overlap with Singapore's (5.0m) are New Zealand (4.4m), Denmark (5.5m), Sweden (9.3m), Switzerland (7.8m), and Finland (5.4m).

[edit]I also haven't dug deep enough into the methodology to see whether the questions are things like "Have you ever had to give a bureaucrat a bribe?" or "Do bureaucrats accept bribes?" If it's the second, then I can see how media control would have an impact- when dirty laundry isn't aired, only the people hurt know about it- but if it's the first, I don't really see how media control would impact it.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:40 pm UTC

Singa Crew wrote:And 'social peace'? Please. Singapore do not really have a low crime rate. Go google the term 'dark figures'. I repeat. We do not have a free press. Also, please consider that the PAP leaders are fond of looking good, so reports that put Singapore in a bad light are usually not presented for public scrutiny. It affects the number of tourists coming here to spend money, you see. How many times have the police ignored gang fights happening around HDB estates? How many thefts and assualts have been ignored? I believe recently there was a high profile case of a woman who got mugged on her way home. And what happened? The police did not want to take responsibility so they pushed it to the Town Council. But alas for the poor woman, the Town Council did not want to take responsibility as well! And another case which I posted to Sgforums. About a woman who complained about how ineffective the police were when it came to investigating the violent behavior of loan sharks bullying her.


I have been living in Singapore for the past five years. It is my distinct impression that the crime rate is much lower in Singapore as compared to Malaysia. When I first came here, I was surprised by women walking home alone at 2am as something very common... something one would never do in Malaysia.

Standard of living is generally higher compared to neighbouring countries. Infrastructure seems to be good, and most of the population has access to constant electricity and running water. Most young people don't need to work until they graduate from university (on that, majority of population seem to have reasonably good education).

Now, I'm not a PAP apologist...far from it. In fact I agree with most of the original post. What I'm disagreeing (respectfully, I hope) is that there seems to be that just because some people being mugged, and some reporters suppressed, then we throw our hands and say Singapore = "dangerous place".

My point is, just chill out...the situation is not unique. Trust me, you'll here the same stories in many other countries. In some countries, these events are not reported by the government too. China, for example, is well known for media blackout when something happens - and there are many stories of people being executed after kangaroo courts and the like. With the internet can dig up such examples on these if we want. It'll be easy to imagine far worse countries, and of course there are better countries too...

EDIT: I got ninja'd on China... :mrgreen:
Last edited by mercuryseven on Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:42 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:41 pm UTC

Vaniver wrote:
Le1bn1z wrote:You should note that this is a "satisfaction and perception survey." Quite aside from the raised expectations that come from having an accountable government, and quite aside from the problems with such perception surveys accross cultures and linguistic groups to determine objective reality in general, if a man in a suit knocked on your door or some stranger called your home in a tyranny and said "Hi, I'd like to know your opinion. Do you believe your government to be corrupt and incompetent? I won't tell, I swear" what would your answer be?

I know mine. "Oh Great Leader, we adore thee, Sun and Moon made turn by your smmmmiiiillllleeeee....."

That's what's up.
But then why is China, where dissidents routinely disappear and the government is (I imagine) more controlling of the media, a 3.6? When you go down the list from the top, the next place with a suspicious political system is Hong Kong at 8.2 (I don't know how much democracy the PRC has managed to sap out of there), then 7 and below seems to be where most less well governed countries reside (the highest country in Africa is a 5.6). And it's not a "Oh, but China's survey is probably filled out by foreign businessmen who don't have to fear reprisal from the government," since Singapore has a massive percentage of foreigners and import/export business.

So we have an unfree republic that's less corrupt than almost every other country in the world, consistently, on more surveys than they have for most countries. It's possible but seems very unlikely that this is data manipulation or coercion of the population. Population size seems to be an factor: the countries whose confidence intervals overlap with Singapore's (5.0m) are New Zealand (4.4m), Denmark (5.5m), Sweden (9.3m), Switzerland (7.8m), and Finland (5.4m).


In Canada, there's a magazine that ranks universities. A big part of that ranking, in recent years, has looked at student perceptions. I went to a University of 1000 odd students (tied to a larger one of 15 000, but with unique programs. A nice one-way street). Our University was ranked as having the most challenging first year of any in Canada. And not just a little more. I mean off the charts. Smaller universities ranked their first years as more challenging than large ones (Mt. Allison, 2000-3000 students, came second.) But upper year programs were ranked closer to average.

Does this mean that King's College actually has the most challenging first year program in all of Canada? Do small universities become really easy after first year?

I doubt it. I know people in other universities that had a way more challenging time. and I know everyone was struggling way more after first year.

Let me hazard a guess of some factors involved in this phenomenon.

1.) Mt. A and King's have high enterance averages, and are tough to get into (over 90% average out of highschool, straight A students, generally speaking) Naturally, something that challenges them must be really hard, right? This, dispite most people doing more poorly at their electives at our partner university, Dalhousie, in their first year, which has a lower difficulty rating.

2.) The first year is really interesting. It's also has the highest student approval rating of any first year in Canada. Students are engaged and work hard because they love the subject. This increases business which increases appearance of difficulty, even though its making the program actually easier.

3.) The echo chamber. In a small university, everybody knows how everybody else is doing. We are all familiar with everyone elses problems. But in a big class in a university (up to 1000 at U of T), you might be having problems but you don't see all of them, and a lot of students assume that its just him or her who's having all these problems. Students who are doing poorly rank the courses based on the perception of how others are doing, students doing well rank the course based on how they are doing. The result is skewed to make the course look easier.

4.) Canada's a big place, and "difficult" and "easy" mean different things to different people. "Difficult" out East seemed to mean a fun challenge. In Ontario, fun challenge was "not so bad" and "difficult" was "oh Lord, oh Lord, i'm gonna dies."

I mention all of this by way of showing the sorts of things you have to consider when going from perception to reality. The nature of the newsmedia, the engagement levels of the citizenry, self-censorship, semantics and expectations.

To put this in context, its important to remember the fate of the late Liberal Government of Canada. It was toppled for a corruption scandal that shook the nation. You see, it was demonstrated that Liberal officials may have misspent millions, if not 10s of millions of dollars. There are those who say that it may be the end of the Liberal Party.

I'm not sure that misspending 10 million dollars would make local news in America. Certainly not in Singapore, where official corruption of this nature never makes the news. But it was enough to neuter Canada's oldest poltical party (organisational continuity from Confederation.)

People howled at the incompetence and corruption that took those millions away. Some campaign people were even jailed for stealing thousands and thousands of dollars. There's been a crisis of confidence in government ever since.

So, you can see how elevated levels of expectation with a related instensified media attention to such things can radically skew the sense of perception of corruption.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Vaniver » Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:49 pm UTC

Le1bn1z wrote:I mention all of this by way of showing the sorts of things you have to consider when going from perception to reality.
True- and if I have the time I'm going to plot TI scores against population, to see what sort of a relationship springs up. Even if we just say that Singapore is as uncorrupt as developed countries as a whole, that still a counterpoint for the argument that uncorruptness comes from methodology (i.e. if we have civil rights the government will treat us better), and as someone who cares passionately about that argument counterpoints are worth worrying about.

Le1bn1z wrote:I'm not sure that misspending 10 million dollars would make local news in America.
$100,000 where it shouldn't be makes the national news when it comes to national political figures (for example, William Jefferson's money in the freezer or Sarah Palin's shopping spree). Agencies misspend ten times that much routinely (the IRS, for example, misplaces about $100M a year, which is less than a ten thousandth of the money they take in).
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Zamfir » Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:35 pm UTC

@ Singa crew: thank you for your post! It's always good to get input from the ground level, instead of theorizing from a distance. Could I ask a.few questions?


How much is still left of the violent oppression of the opposition? I somehow got the impression that practices as in the video have decreased a lot since the 80s or so, and that the modern alternative is to bankrupt critics, and making them unemployable. But I might be completely off here.

You also mentioned high rents. From the outside, it looks as if Singapore charges rent basically as a form of taxation. Is that how you see it too?

A last one: in a post above someone mentioned Singapore as an ethnically diverse country. What are the local view on that? All people from Singapore that I have met were Chinese, not just ethnically but also self-identifying as such. So I have got this vague idea of Singapore as a basically Chinese country with some other groups as minorities.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby skeptical scientist » Fri Jul 16, 2010 10:48 pm UTC

Singa Crew wrote:Due to the unconstitutional ban imposed by the PAP government, it is now an offence for anyone to possess and distribute this video in Singapore. Anyone who commits the offence can be fined up to $10,000, or jailed up to two years, or both.

On what basis do you call this unconstitutional? I don't know much about the Constitution of Singapore, but I Googled it, and found this:
Constitution of the Republic of Singapore wrote:Freedom of speech, assembly and association
14. —(1) Subject to clauses (2) and (3) —
(a) every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) all citizens of Singapore have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms; and
(c) all citizens of Singapore have the right to form associations.
(2) Parliament may by law impose —
(a) on the rights conferred by clause (1) (a), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, friendly relations with other countries, public order or morality and restrictions designed to protect the privileges of Parliament or to provide against contempt of court, defamation or incitement to any offence;
(b) on the right conferred by clause (1) (b), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof or public order; and
(c) on the right conferred by clause (1) (c), such restrictions as it considers necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of Singapore or any part thereof, public order or morality.
(3) Restrictions on the right to form associations conferred by clause (1) (c) may also be imposed by any law relating to labour or education.

It seems pretty clear that you don't actually have a constitutional right to freedom of speech.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby meatyochre » Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:46 pm UTC

That constitution made me pretty angry. You have the right to freedom of speech and assembly, except when we say you can't.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby unfiltered » Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:17 am UTC

Hi Singa Crew,

As a fellow Singaporean, I really felt compelled to register an account on this forum to share my thoughts with everyone as well.

Singa Crew wrote:Apologists for the PAP like to cite those factors to defend the PAP regime. Don't talk to a regular Singaporean like myself about 'economic growth', please. Because while the State-owned paper keeps talking about 'growth', what we Singaporeans on the ground can see is just growth in bills and expenses! Growth in train and bus fares. Growth in taxi fares. Growth in food prices. Growth in medical bills. Growth in household bills. Growth in ministerial salaries. BUT NO GROWTH FOR OUR WAGES AND STANDARD OF LIVING!

On the other hand, violent crimes affecting the peasant class of Singapore, like myself, are not given such priority. There has been more than a few cases where the police will just tell civilians who got attacked or threatened that they (the police) cannot arrest people for assualt. So what I am saying is that it isn't a culture of complacency but rather a culture of misplaced priority. Making the PAP leaders feel and look good is more important than the lives of peasants like myself.


Sadly, this is all too true. Years ago, I was the victim of assault by a gang belonging to a particular minority group. I believe they were high on drugs at the time. Sadly, they escaped before the police arrived and I was informed that if they were found, I'd have to file a civil suit. One thing that really sucks badly here.

Singa Crew wrote:Tell me what you mean by 'standard of living'? All we Singaporeans know is that a certain civil servant boasted of an expensive French trip while the country was in recession and that our ministers (who are the highest paid politicians in the world - just google the facts) can afford all sorts of nice things. But the majority of Singaporeans live in HDB ghetto estates. Many Singaporeans become homeless as a result of the obscenely high priced HDB apartments. So they are forced to camp out in tents. And what did the government do? Ministry officials went around with the police to chase the homeless away.

And what about the rising number of MRT suicides? All those people in Singapore killed themselves because our standard of living is so high? Singapore is now one of the world's suicide capitals. See: http://www.yoursdp.org/index.php/news/s ... -we-become

And what about that time when police officers were attacked by 200 gangsters during a police raid? See: http://www.sgpolitics.net/?p=3890

You call it 'social peace' when gangsters can gather in such numbers and whack police officers? It happened way back in 2007 but was only reported recently. God knows how many such violent incidents are taking place but not reported!


I'd really have to disagree with this block of material though. The information you have provided here seems either false or incomplete. I do hope it's unintentional on your part.

With regards to the many Singaporeans 'being forced to camp out in tents', I believe there was actually a series of documentaries and news reports on them some time last year. Indeed, these people are unable to afford proper housing in Singapore. If I recall correctly, the interviews with these people revealed that they had either lost all their savings due to gambling issues or quite simply, refused to work. Do note that our Housing Development Board does have measures in place to provide assistance for needy families at a (even more so than normal public housing) heavily subsidised rate. http://www.hdb.gov.sg/fi10/fi10323p.nsf/w/RentalTenantRenewal?OpenDocument
I know because I have relatives who are on this scheme.

Of course, you may choose to believe that the local media may be an unreliable source of information if you believe in political repression of the media. However, I'd spent 2 years of my life during National Service (the compulsory SIngapore military draft) in a military camp near where these homeless are camped out. From what I've seen there, I'm quite inclined to believe in what the media has reporting regarding them.

Regarding the 'suicide capital' issue, I hope you're aware that the link that you've posted had almost nothing to do with the suicide rates in Singapore. In fact, it's a link to a political opposition group's website, providing a far from objective rant against the income divide between certain individuals in Singapore. If you're truely interested in the relative suicide rates in Singapore compared to the other nations, here you go. ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

And your bit about the gangsters. I'm not sure if you realised this as well. But your cited website made its citation from yet another website that took great liberties in translating the original term of "200名公众" (200 members of the public) into "200 gangsters". Note, these were 200 members of the public who were gathered at a gambling den, not what you'd call a representative sample of the average Singaporean.

I do hope for all our sakes that if you wish to make any more citations in the future, please try to acquire your information from more objective sources. And before you lambast me for being a crony of any political party, I can assure you that I am not. But judging from your writings here, I'm afraid I cannot say the same for you.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:01 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:You also mentioned high rents. From the outside, it looks as if Singapore charges rent basically as a form of taxation. Is that how you see it too?

A last one: in a post above someone mentioned Singapore as an ethnically diverse country. What are the local view on that? All people from Singapore that I have met were Chinese, not just ethnically but also self-identifying as such. So I have got this vague idea of Singapore as a basically Chinese country with some other groups as minorities.


At most I can answer this as a non-Singaporean living in Singapore for some years... Yes, rent rates and property rates are quite high here.

About 80% of the population is Chinese, with the remainder made up of ethnic Indians, Malays and other minority races. There's a large number of immigrants from mainland China as well.

unifltered wrote:And your bit about the gangsters. I'm not sure if you realised this as well. But your cited website made its citation from yet another website that took great liberties in translating the original term of "200名公众" (200 members of the public) into "200 gangsters". Note, these were 200 members of the public who were gathered at a gambling den, not what you'd call a representative sample of the average Singaporean.


Thanks for this clarification... "200 gangsters assaulting police" sounded a bit dubious when I first read it. It seemed to exaggerated for it to be based in any reality. Such an extreme event would certainly be witnessed and remembered by many people. Even if it was successfully covered up by the local media, it would be possible for foreign journalist (BBC? Reuters?) to pick it up... Admittedly I am in no position to verify this event as true or false. Though I'm thinking that the logistics of covering up such a thing is equivalent to the logistics of constructing a conspiracy theorists' favourite Moon landing hoax.

I'm neither a supporter or opposer of any government anywhere. But here I'm taking my cues from skepticism like those from Phil Plait, Dawkins, or Mike Shermer: not to make judgements based on preconceived notions, but instead basing arguments on logic, reason and verifiable evidence.

I have yet to sense the presence of any well-structured organized crime in Singapore. If one exists here, it would probably be very low profile, and I wonder how would it be capable of recruiting 200 people, all of which will be present to assault the police. Furthermore, if such a thing happened, I'd expect there would be a huge crackdown on the gangsters later on - that would certainly make the news.

Claims on "social peace", "living standards", seem wholly inconsistent with what I observe on the streets everyday, such as

Singa Crew wrote:But the majority of Singaporeans live in HDB ghetto estates. Many Singaporeans become homeless as a result of the obscenely high priced HDB apartments. So they are forced to camp out in tents


Ghetto? I made a dictionary check which defines ghetto as "a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships."

Now a typical HDB has fully functioning sanitation, electricity, running water, and other utilities. Shops and groceries are available at moment's notice, public transportation is reasonably accessible to most parts. Sure, HDB flats are small and cramped, but that isn't much different from Hong Kong residential structures as well.

Sure, we can always distrust the "news" propagated by the government...equally well, we have not much reason to trust the news spread by "amateur journalists", bloggers, or the opposition. Even if we grant them as reporting events neutrally and unbiased (that's a huge leap of faith indeed), there's still the simple question on competence and journalistic methodology for reporting the events correctly.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Singa Crew » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:32 am UTC

unfiltered said:

"I do hope for all our sakes that if you wish to make any more citations in the future, please try to acquire your information from more objective sources. And before you lambast me for being a crony of any political party, I can assure you that I am not. But judging from your writings here, I'm afraid I cannot say the same for you."

When the PAP talks about "objective sources", they are talking about reports or news articles that favour their position.

And after you cited the HDB (Housing Development Board), which is a government body under PAP control, as your source, I don't think you can call yourself objective or unbiased either.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Singa Crew » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:50 am UTC

mercuryseven said:

Ghetto? I made a dictionary check which defines ghetto as "a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships."

Yeah mercury, that sounds like our HDB flats. Just because our HDB flats have electricity and running water doesn't make it non-ghetto. You have heard about the ethnic quota thingy for our HDB housing estates right? If that isn't social restrictions, I don't know what is. As for economic hardships and pressures, go take a peek inside the Singapore's blogosphere. Google yourself silly.

The dictionary definition did not mention that having electricity and running water make a place non-ghetto. The mobile homes in trailer parks have those things too! Some neighbourhoods (like those towns constructed mainly out of tin and cardboard in really slummy areas in Indonesia) are worse off, but that doesn't change the fact that our HDB estates are ghettos.

Oh btw, the 200 persons mentioned in the news report... They were caught in a seedy part of the red-light district where they have all those illegal gambling stalls and porno dvd stalls... They were jeering and intimidating the police officers. I call a spade a spade. What else should I call them if not 'gangsters'? Scholars and gentlemen? I am not saying the Chinese paper was wrong in calling 'em 'members of the public'. That's a very generic and safe term for them to use. After all, gangsters mugging people in public may also be called 'members of the public'.

If the state-owned paper had called them members of this or that secret society, that would be admitting the government failed to tackle the gang problem here. Safer to just say those people intimidating the police officers were merely just 'members of the public' who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby skeptical scientist » Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:10 pm UTC

Singa Crew wrote:Oh btw, the 200 persons mentioned in the news report... They were caught in a seedy part of the red-light district where they have all those illegal gambling stalls and porno dvd stalls... They were jeering and intimidating the police officers. I call a spade a spade. What else should I call them if not 'gangsters'? Scholars and gentlemen? I am not saying the Chinese paper was wrong in calling 'em 'members of the public'. That's a very generic and safe term for them to use. After all, gangsters mugging people in public may also be called 'members of the public'.

From Wikipedia:
A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. The term is mostly used to refer to members of criminal organizations associated with Prohibition or with an American offshoot of the Italian Mafia (such as the Chicago Outfit, the Philadelphia Mafia, or the Five Families).

It hardly seems like simply being in a seedy area and taunting police qualifies the use of this term.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:11 pm UTC

Okay... I shall try my best to avoid arguing semantics and dictionary definitions. So HDBs are technically "ghettos". But still, the "Singapore" he is describing seems very different from the "Singapore" that I'm living in right now. For instance,

Singa Crew wrote:Oh btw, the 200 persons mentioned in the news report... They were caught in a seedy part of the red-light district where they have all those illegal gambling stalls and porno dvd stalls... They were jeering and intimidating the police officers.


Just out of curiosity, where is this district/location? Geylang?

I'll try to give some benefit of doubt by concluding:

A) The XKCD fora has miraculously opened an inter-universe wormhole to connect two "Singapore"s of parallel universes
B) It's a difference of perspective: I have lived in countries of worse conditions before, worked harder jobs with much lower pay, have been oppressed by police and government before, and had witnessed violent mob behaviour (I have many stories to share). So from my point of view Singapore ain't that bad...

The thing is, I don't really know why am I defending my points against Singa Crew here. It's kind of like making Singa preaching to the choir. Or actually, preaching to random passing traffic. Parts of this discussion is beginning to sound like a election debate between political parties, I may seem to sound like on the pro-government side, but heck - all this actually goes right over my head, as I'm not a Singaporean citizen, and have no knowledge about Singapore's internal politics.... All I know is basically summarized in B) above

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:31 am UTC

Singa Crew wrote:mercuryseven said:

Ghetto? I made a dictionary check which defines ghetto as "a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships."

Yeah mercury, that sounds like our HDB flats. Just because our HDB flats have electricity and running water doesn't make it non-ghetto. You have heard about the ethnic quota thingy for our HDB housing estates right? If that isn't social restrictions, I don't know what is. As for economic hardships and pressures, go take a peek inside the Singapore's blogosphere. Google yourself silly.


Let me put it this way.
Just as Singapore is about the most benevolent dictatorship you can have (if it is considered a dictatorship), Singapore's ghettos is about the best ghetto one can have (if HDB flats can be considered ghettos). Name me one single other place where: Ghettos have clean water, available electricity, broadband connections, availability of cheap transportation, availability of cheap food of reasonable quality, social welfare (incl welfare to aid in procurement of housing), low crime rates/public safety, low environmental hazard, availability of public resources, cleanliness standards, etc.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby skeptical scientist » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:23 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:Name me one single other place where: Ghettos have clean water, available electricity, broadband connections, availability of cheap transportation, availability of cheap food of reasonable quality, social welfare (incl welfare to aid in procurement of housing), low crime rates/public safety, low environmental hazard, availability of public resources, cleanliness standards, etc.

OK
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Tue Jul 20, 2010 1:55 am UTC

skeptical scientist wrote:
Kyrn wrote:Name me one single other place where: Ghettos have clean water, available electricity, broadband connections, availability of cheap transportation, availability of cheap food of reasonable quality, social welfare (incl welfare to aid in procurement of housing), low crime rates/public safety, low environmental hazard, availability of public resources, cleanliness standards, etc.

OK


Um sorry? I don't see any mention of clean water, available electricity, broadband connections, availability of cheap transportation, availability of cheap food of reasonable quality, social welfare (incl welfare to aid in procurement of housing), low crime rates/public safety, low environmental hazard, availability of public resources, cleanliness standards anywhere in that portion you mentioned.

I'm not saying that there isn't some of those factors I mentioned. But I don't expect to be the one who research for counterarguments to myself, especially if I'm skeptical that USA ghettos have all those factors I mentioned.

[EDIT]
Also, on the note of USA ghettos:
USA unemployment = 9.5% as of 2010 (June)
Singapore unemployment = 2.2 as of 2010 (March)

Given the assumption that unemployment is more likely to affect those in ghettos, it would also mean that the standard of living (affected by employment and welfare) of those in USA ghettos vs Singapore ghettos are also vastly different. Even if the assumption is wrong, it is still a reasonable difference.
[/EDIT]
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:08 am UTC

Let me come back to this point... "a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships."

Singa Crew wrote:You have heard about the ethnic quota thingy for our HDB housing estates right? If that isn't social restrictions, I don't know what is.


I was under the impression that the ethnic quota was allocating HDB residents precisely by ratio of population - (HDB housing having 80% Chinese, etc. same as nationwide ratio). Sure, one could argue that this is this is the government's ploy to dilute the demographics of the minority over the whole nation. But that's the precise opposite of what is supposedly a ghetto according to the dictionary above.

I would call HDBs an "anti-ghetto"... you know, still a ghetto, but oppositely charged. It might be best to look up references or journals documenting the sociology of Singapore. If it's rightfully called a "ghetto", the experts would certainly call it that.
Last edited by mercuryseven on Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:15 am UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:13 am UTC

mercuryseven wrote:Let me come back to this point... "a section of a city, esp. a thickly populated slum area, inhabited predominantly by members of an ethnic or other minority group, often as a result of social or economic restrictions, pressures, or hardships."

Singa Crew wrote:You have heard about the ethnic quota thingy for our HDB housing estates right? If that isn't social restrictions, I don't know what is.


I was under the impression that the ethnic quota was allocating HDB residents precisely by ratio of population - (HDB housing having 80% Chinese, etc. same as nationwide ratio). Sure, one could argue that this is this is the government's ploy to dilute the demographics of the minority over the whole nation. But that's the precise opposite of what is supposedly a ghetto according to the dictionary above.

I would call HDBs an "anti-ghetto"... you know, still a ghetto, but oppositely charged. It might be best to look up references or journals documenting the sociology of Singapore. If it's rightfully called a "ghetto", the experts would certainly call it that.

I'm assuming a significantly different definition of minority (in that it can also represent those who aren't sufficiently well off to afford better housing). Granted that isn't really the minority, but it is potentially viewable as such by others. Regardless, it doesn't dismiss the point that it may resemble ghettos in other factors, factors which I am challenging.
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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby mercuryseven » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:16 am UTC

Kyrn wrote:Given the assumption that unemployment is more likely to affect those in ghettos, it would also mean that the standard of living (affected by employment and welfare) of those in USA ghettos vs Singapore ghettos are also vastly different. Even if the assumption is wrong, it is still a reasonable difference.


Does unemployment/poverty of the residents make a residential area a ghetto, or is ghetto actually defined under other conditions, where unemployment/poverty is an indirect consequence?

Mirriam-Webster Dictionary wrote:A quarter of a city in which members of a minority group live especially because of social, legal, or economic pressure.


Again my emphasis on "minority group", which is subverted by the racial quota policy of HDB flats. HDB=ghetto It's probably consistent with the part "legal pressure" above, if we stretch it far enough...

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Re: Singapore Government Bans Political Video Clip

Postby Kyrn » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:26 am UTC

mercuryseven wrote:
Kyrn wrote:Given the assumption that unemployment is more likely to affect those in ghettos, it would also mean that the standard of living (affected by employment and welfare) of those in USA ghettos vs Singapore ghettos are also vastly different. Even if the assumption is wrong, it is still a reasonable difference.


Does unemployment/poverty of the residents make a residential area a ghetto, or is ghetto actually defined under other conditions, where unemployment/poverty is an indirect consequence?

In general, poverty is one of the main causes of ghettos, since if you aren't poor, you can generally afford to move elsewhere. This of cause assumes several factors like ghettos being worse off than elsewhere, and that there aren't policies in place which are biased against minorities elsewhere and/or policies which favors minorities here. One aspect of Singapore is that it is rather unique in it's policy of racial quotas in housing, so it is hard to use the conventional definition of ghettos, but there is a distinct segregation of standards of living among those living in landed property and those living in HDB flats.. or those living in 3 room vs those living in 4 room/5/room/executive flats for that matter.

Regardless, I believe my points still stand: compared to any other places which are considered ghettos, Singapore is much better off.
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