Sedition (sells editons)

Straight up front. E@L is totally against the arrest of people expressing opinions, valid, unpleasant or otherwise.

E@L believes deeply that free speech kicks the arse of other freedoms, despite what others may think. It is the basis of a truly free society. It is how his minds works.

Think wedge. Think thin end.

So we slide back into a world were communication between groups is by strapping explosives to a child's body...

These hateful opinions, bad as they are, come not from too much free speech but from the lack of discussion, lack of opportunities for understanding, lack of venting, lack of thought, lack of plurality in education.

Hegelian dialectic (as modified by E@L)- confront those of different opinions with contrasting opinions. The ideal with the practical. Freedom comes through creating discourse, debate, softening edges, smoothing with reason. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. OK maybe not by revolution, but through democratic debate and viable OPTIONS!

Plurality - diverse forms and sources of information can create healthier results - the heterozygotic advantage in biology, the democratic advantage in politics.

Democracy - is not pretty, not tidy, not trimmed trees, not white-lines on the side of the road.

One problem is that democracy has been equated to free markets in people's minds. Democracy has nothing to do with economics - that is one the myths that governments "govern" us by... Free markets and free societies share only the spelling of the word "free" but not its definition and not very often a geographical location, if you know what E@L means.

This has led to a some wierd double-think and denial - successful economies must be democratic because they are successful. Huh? Wrong! Case in point - this place.

Democracy is not a powerhouse for economic growth, it is a powerhourse for moral, artistic and social growth!

What do you want? To be surrounded by material goods yet essentially lonely? To fulfill your assigned role as a consumer of temporary metetricious sugar-candy iPod gratification in order to keep the machinery of industry and exploitation growing and then die as hollow men in a damaged world?

Or to examine your motives, your needs not your wants, what makes you happy not what makes you feel good, what makes a positive difference to your world, what make the world a better place because you have lived, to change things for the better in whatever scale you can... (OK platitudes galore, but if you sift, there is something genuine that maybe a poet, certainly a better philospher, could explain...)

Golf analogy - there are no OB markers on the fairway of thought, extreme opinions naturally end up as just lost balls.

Soup analogy - how to create Laughing Stock. Boil croneyism with paranoia and "benign fascism dictatorship" for 40 years until ridiculous yet scary. As Gilbert Koh says in today's Sunday Times, "we still long too hard for heroes."


Every day something comes up in Singapore that just stuns E@L ...

Last week on the news, yet another arrested person was denied legal counsel... He was at a friend's place watching the news on TV. Just looked at each other and rolled eyes. Laughed in ironic disbelief. What the FUCK are we doing in this country?

In a proper country there would HUGE amounts of protest, newspaper and blog discussion about this lack of what many certainly call a basic human right. Some countries do fear a decline into such a narrow politically controlled judicial system , unlikely at is may seems from a Singapore perspective.




Stunned by the complacency and the self-censoring unwillingness to participate in the running of the country through dissent and diverse opinion.

Hey, it's not E@L's job to wake Singapore up.

He's just trying to blog some funny (to him) stories and practice stringing words into comprehensible sentences for his own amusement though all are welcome to come along for the ride...

But he just can't sit there and watch this. Hence this venting. He feels sickened.

After all, how could any local blogger fail to comment on the issue[?] Failure to comply [with] comment can be considered seditious too, in Molly’s eyes even if not in the sharp eyes of the Law. MollyMeek

But Singaporeans as a rule do fail to comply. I know that are some great voices of reason and satire in the Singapore Blogosphere, but even 1000 hits a day is a nary a dent in the consciousness of the swarming Singaporean masses (assuming masses take note of what you say whilst swarming).

So the papers have spread some blogging issues into the public arena and under the Gahmen's nose, and that has sold some papers with stories of something new - (Hey, even E@L got his ugly mug in the paper!) - and yet it turns out that all bloggers have done is create evidence pathways and provide new ways to incriminate themselves! Attention has now been drawn.

Just look at the number of people straggling up Orchard Rd, minds on other things. Yes that's were the swarming masses actually do their swarming. What's a few bloggers rotting in prison to them?

Ah, why don't we all just go shopping?

That's not illegal or seditious.



Currently playing:

image Powderfinger
Album - Vulture Street

Despite the miseries
And the lessons learned from history
The pattern still repeats
Never to surrender don't you ever repeat

How far have we really come?
Until the ones who are leading us
Make peace their resolution tonight
Make peace your resolution tonight



Posted by: expat@large on Sep 18, 05 | 12:23 pm | Profile


Stands up and claps vigorously.

Posted by: MercerMachine on Sep 18, 05 | 6:20 pm

It's important to remember that this is a country which has suffered racial riots within living memory, and that the national consciousness has been imprinted with the need to constantly maintain racial and religious harmony.

As such, it's not really surprising that most Singaporeans, myself included, don't regard these 3 racist bloggers as martyrs for free speech.

(Anyway, now that I'm living in Phnom Penh, it's kinda weird to follow all these goings-on in Singapore. Cambodia is a country which has many serious problems to work through, and from this standpoint the plight of the Singapore blogosphere seems really petty in comparison.)

Posted by: chlim01 on Sep 18, 05 | 7:10 pm

I don't think Singapore is the only problem with the need to be vigilant. Take the States. Suppose an extremist stands out and swears he's going to do something to make 911 appear like child's play. Do they let the person go?

Call me a pessimist, but I for one think a "truly free society" just isn't desirable given human nature.

I don't agree too, that the three made hateful opinions due to the lack of discussion/ opportunities for understanding/ venting/ thought/ plurality in education. The channels are not exactly entirely missing locally, though I'm sure some will bring the degree of plurality into contention.

As for discussing this issue, who knows. Maybe you're not looking in the right places. I've heard aunties and uncles call in to 95.8FM to express concern. My friends and I talk about it when we meet. Perhaps taxi drivers talk about it over tea, while discussing the Orchard Road murder. Discourse is not exclusive to the written form after all.

What you may be more concerned with, however, is that my friends and I aren't exactly blustering with outrage at their plights, as chlim01 has said.

On a lighter note, "freedom" that "comes through creating discourse, debate, softening edges, smoothing with reason" sounds like a board meeting. Heh.

Posted by: WJ the II on Sep 18, 05 | 8:52 pm

On the FIRST draft of this, which was in fact going to be a comment on Mr Wang Say So, E@L was going to say that compared to what's going on in the rest of SEA this is indeed pretty tame, but the point is that Thailand and Cambodia don't claim to be bastions of Free Enterprise and an example to the Rest Of The World Of How To Run A Country...

Historically Singapore, no doubt because of its strong BRITISH colonial roots used to be seen, at least by Australians of my vintage who shared that sense of continuity, as more Civilized than the rest of the region...

That is partly why I am so disappointed with the place; I harbored much higher expectations of Singapore than I did/do of Thailand, Indonesia...

Those race riots were allegedly fuelled, at least partially, by insurgents from Indonesia stiring up trouble according to what I have read ("Ousted!" by Patrick Keith.) Is that how you old guys (ahem!) remember them?

Of course I can't listen to the local radio, what language are they speaking... Plus I have been in Thailand all last week, I am off to Canada next week, so I can't really keep up with the local TV news (language and censorship issues again - and anyone want my job?) Obviously as a non Mandarin/Hokkien/Malay/Singlish speaker all I know about what goes on is what I can see in the ST - and that is a controlled paper so how can I reasonably expect to hear any REAL discussion? Of course it goes on, and I am seeing more recently on blogs because I am looking more, but like Mercer Machine, I was shocked at hearing Mr Wang support turning our backs on 300 years of philosophical advancement.

And its not just this one issue. It's a constant barrage of issues, any one of which should make you cringe; from the trivial chewing-gum bullshit (don't freaking laugh, this is symptomatic) to the failure to guarantee legal counsel to an arrested person - you know the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence, ever heard of these issues? How can anyone allow these restrictions of freedom to go on?

Of course being PRODUCTS of the educational system here, some local fish might have trouble identifying the water...

E@L and the Members of The Board

(Yeah a lot of platitudes in that post - I apologize for the shallow thinking. But when you get that gut-feeling that things aren't right...)

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 18, 05 | 11:49 pm

"And it's true we are immune.
When fact is fiction and T.V. is reality,
And today the millions cry,
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die." -- U2 Bloody Sunday


"the mob beat and hacked a blind trail -- blinder now, for their rage had by no means tempered and their road to revenge had become a bright and blinding one .... O now ah know, now ah know what's hapenning. Here she is descending. The shifts of breeze tell me. The blue effluxion, the flutter of wings. O mah winged protector! Mah guardian angel! Is it you? Is it you, come to carry me through the gates? Can you tell me? O can you tell? Can you tell me what's happening?" -- Nick Cave 'And the Ass Saw the Angel"

Posted by: XenoBoy on Sep 19, 05 | 4:01 am

"The greatest principle of all is that nobody, whether male or female should be without a leader. Nor should the mind of anybody be habituated to letting him do anything at all on his own initiative; neither out of zeal, nor even playfully. But in war and in the midst of peace - to his leader he shall direct his eye and follow him faithfully. And even in the smallest matter he should stand under leadership. For example, he should get up, or move, or wash, or take his meals... only if he has been told to do so. In a word, he should teach his soul by long habit, never to dream of acting independently, and to become utterly incapable of it." -- Plato (as quoted by Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies. Routlege, 1995.)

"'You didn't request permission to talk.' The guard jabbed him lightly in the ribs. 'Prisoners are silent. We observe the international rules of warfare in this head. This is my head. Nobody talks without my say-so.'" -- Dellilo, Libra. Penguin, 1988.

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 19, 05 | 10:10 am

I find it surprising you found Singapore disappointing. I mean, the Singapore govt has never ever pretended to be a bastion of Western civil liberties; indeed the govt has always proudly proclaimed itself to be at the forefront of the Asian values movement.

It's interesting you quote Plato since, if anything, Singapore closely resembles the Republic of the Philosopher Kings. (Well, we haven't expelled the artists yet, but if they get to uppity I wouldn't be surprised if the govt follows Plato's prescription on this.)

Posted by: chlim01 on Sep 19, 05 | 11:55 am

The Plato quote was deliberate... of course. LKW fancies(d) hisself as the PK.

I was just hoping it wasn't true, that some more of the independance of spirit that is quite strong in Hong Kong would be here. We were getting used to mass protest marches and LongHair getting onto Legistlative Assembly to stir things up...

At least the air is much cleaner, I had some skin issues in HK that had mostly cleared up here. But Bavaria was stunningly beautiful in the 1930's too.

Asian Values: cheap girls, expensive politicians?

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 19, 05 | 1:21 pm

Dear Mr E@L,

It will be a painfully slow but necessary process to move from the shopping swarm to the activist swarm. if this was the 80s or 90s Sg, where access to interaction of ideas outside of Sg was restricted to our ability to afford an air ticket, I would write about nostalgia, the turning of the seasons, food and other lovey dovey shit.

To quote yet again "To be rhizomorphous is to produce stems and filaments that seem to be roots, or better yet connect with them by penetrating the trunk, but put them to strange new uses. Form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency" -- Deleuze and Guattari

Posted by: XenoBoy on Sep 20, 05 | 5:02 am

That's plainly consistent.

Posted by: expat@large on Sep 20, 05 | 11:00 am

Somewhere at the end of 'The Republic', Plato warns that, if they're not careful, the Philosopher Kings can degrade and their kingdoms become less than ideal. As such the PKs always have to be on their guard against this danger.

Posted by: chlim01 on Sep 20, 05 | 5:16 pm

XB, I realize that 40 is young, being a tad beyond that myself. But progress must can made although no-one doesn't expect the proles to lead the revolution, except Winston Smith. And look what happened to him.

But as Margaret Mead (who ordinarily I'd never admit quoting) said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Lim: Oops, someone wasn't careful...


Posted by: expat@large on Sep 20, 05 | 9:38 pm


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