Singapore must be a damn safe place

By | September 18, 2006
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A recent event provided testimony that Singapore is one of the “safest” places in the world. It has few disturbances to social harmony, and when it does, the agitator is swiftly put behind bars. The event also showed that the Singapore police force must have very few crimes to solve and very few law breakers to chase after, judging by the way they can afford to form human barricades to prevent Chee Soon Juan, an opposition politician, and his supporters from staging a protest march to the convention centre where the IMF-World Bank meetings are held. Throughout the prolonged stand-off over the right to protest, changing shifts of police kept guard over Chee and his supporters at Hong Lim Park, the venue of the Speakers’ Corner. Six policemen even accompanied each one to the park’s bathroom, according to newspaper reports. In other words, the police must be very free these days.

A Bangkok Post article quoted a spokeswoman as saying that the police were “engaging” Chee and his associates. But not the way Christopher Obsburn, a 27-year-old British tourist, saw it: “I’m astounded by the police preventing the legitimate movement of people. There’s a disproportionate reaction and it shows another side to Singapore.”

The same article, however, contained an error:
Registering with police is required. Speakers are prohibited from discussing subjects that could ignore [ignite] religious or racial violence or threaten national security.

When asked about the police stand-off, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, minister for education and second minister for finance, said: “Our view has been very clearly articulated. It’s in the press, you can read it.”

There you have it. “Articulated” in the press, not “reported”. Another Freudian slip?

Related articles:
Freudian slip: A case of mind over mutter?
Frontline: Hong Lim

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Are you a sympathizer of this loser? He was sued many times by MM Lee and PM Lee but still want to create trouble. The government should deport him, not arrest him.


Being a fellow Singaporean, I pity your state of mind. What if Chee is given the chance to become the PM of Singapore or perhaps yourself would like to run this country? With all the articles you have written, I again pity you. Have you asked yourself what have you done for your motherland besides spitting at PAP. Have your served your full national service liability or perhaps you are against it in the first place. You do not understand what nation building is all about and all your articulate writing does not contribute to a Singaporean like myself and… Read more »


Hi anonymous1 and 2, I agree with half of what you say – Singaporean achivements under PAP are indeed very impressive, and I am impressed. However, I could never quite understand why such a successful government afraid of dissenting voices. e.g. if you do your job in the office properly, why so scare of critism from your colleagues. Singapore ecomonic achivement has impressive as PAP effort to channel planned resources to focus on certain field has been very effective in the past. However, in this globalised world, to move forward, Singaporean needs to be creative. To anonymous 2, perhaps you… Read more »

Stephen Yeo

To anonymous @ 12:23 PM:Save the pity for yourself. You write as if you know me in person, when you do not. Like anonymous @ 12:57 AM, you chose to hide behind the cloak of anonymity to criticise someone whom you indiscriminately labelled “fellow Singaporean” (thank you, but I don’t need that unwarranted overture). What did the PAP call this kind of people – an armchair critic? At least have the guts to stand out and give yourself a name, even if it’s not a real one. Otherwise, admit that you’re a coward who’s afraid to stand up for your… Read more »


Not to excuse or agree with everything said here by either Stephen or the Anonymous posters (in it’s entirety), I do admit that Chee SJ’s “Voice of Dissent” has come across as being as idiotic as police actions to prevent it. Between his fasting (I mean way to go ghandi) and their over-reaction, It just goes to show how idiotic some opposition parties can be and how padentic the govt. is. Stephen, I’d also ask that you relak one corner… it is afterall easier to click on anonymous than it is to type a name. That having been said, allow… Read more »


Whicher side all of you are for, do not quarrel. But I must say, I support Chee.Whatever Chee did is for the good of the nation, in the long term.

Kudos to Stephen for supporting Chee. If someone chooses to remain in the well like a frog, what can you do? Just smile, it is approved by our government.

Stephen Yeo

Hi eugene,

Fair enough. You have the same right to your opinions that I have to mine. What many people fail to realise is that we have the tendency to shoot the messenger along with the message. Granted, Chee’s tactics are questionable (although in the political landscape, I’d argue that it’s allowable). But have we stopped to ponder about the underlying message he’s driving at?

If you put yourself in his shoes, would you have the courage to stand up for your own convictions (whatever those may be) the way Chee did?


Just in quick response to your reply Stephen, I’d be interested to know if your support is for his agenda or his “conviction”. I can imagine one’s support for his underlying message for increased political freedoms etc, but I do regularly question his “fervour”. I think it’s not only the right but the responsibility of citizens to question the government. Unfortunately I feel that people are a) not asking the right questions b) asking them in an unnecessarily confrontational manner. Sure, I concede that there has been many an incidence of a disproportionate response from the government, but this could… Read more »

Stephen Yeo

Hi Eugene, I’m not sure if I can fully grasp what you meant by “conviction”. I am a man of few “convictions”, or at least I think I am (compared to Chee). The case of the man who has an intense conviction that he ought to do certain things is peculiar, and perhaps not very common. But it is significant because it includes some very important individuals. Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale defied convention in obedience to a feeling of this sort. In such cases, the individual conviction deserves the greatest respect, even if there seems no obvious justification… Read more »


Climate control in the Singapore Pressby Eric Ellis The Australian, June 21, 2001I’m sitting in the tiny office of Cheong Yip Seng, editor-in-chief of Singapore’s The Straits Times. And he’s waxing lyrical about the paper and its contribution to the tiny South-East Asian nation that he’s seen leap from Third World slum to First World wonder. Cheong, 57, has been with the paper since 1963. He’s proud of the paper and its contribution to modern Singapore. And he’s proud, too, of the former intelligence operatives in his newsroom. There’s Chua Lee Hoong, the ST’s most prominent political columnist. She might… Read more »

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