You have one phone call...

No point making it to a lawyer if you are arrested in Singapore.


But Why Did Mr Wang Say So comments about how lawyers want the right to early access to their clients - early as in 48 hours. Currently, I believe, it is not even 14 days.

He creates a hypothetical case and then argues for us being happy that the truth is out, somehow, but mainly because a lawyer was not there to instruct the guilty party to lie...

Read it all about it here.

Now E@L read many, but not all, of the comments on the post there, so he may have missed some fine legal discussion points but his spleen was rising over the premise of the whole issue and it needed venting!

So stand back... (most typos corrected from the original comment)


"Mr Wang: What if "Anthony" was a 14 year old girl who got pregnant unknowingly and secretly, then threw her new-born baby out of flat window in a fit of denial, terror and mental confusion.

I certainly don't think it is in the greater interests of society, let alone anybody's idea of "justice", that this minor should have been denied the right to legal counsel and then THE RIGHT TO SEE HER FAMILY! as happened in a real case here last year.

I was horrified by this case. Absolutely disgusted. I wanted to leave the country immediately. And I waited to hear of the outcry, the righteous indignation and anger, but it never came...

[Addendum: This was a young, damaged, vunerable person wha was IN DIRE NEED OF ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT, not incarceration. You might as well take a person badly injured from an accident that might have been their fault directly to jail rather than to the hospital.]

That any country which considers itself civilized would treat a citizen in such a manner offends the essence of all things human. It just amazed and disgusted me.

And I have dismissed Singapore as a backwater of quasi-fascist business/bureaucr-archy, a glorified immature country-town with delusions of existence, ever since.

I didn't come here disliking Singapore, I came with an open mind, thinking that it was a much more open society than it is.

I think the right to immediate legal counsel, like the right to gather for peaceful protest, the right to comment openly and without fear of retribution, the right not to be killed by the government for minor misdemeanors like the importation of small amounts of marijuana or for being drug "mules" while that same government is blatantly doing business with the drug barons who run the mules from that hell-hole Myanmar, is one of those self-evident signs which differentiate a MATURE, HUMANIST and GOOD SOCIETY from a countries like this barbaric abomination. [See just about every post at Singabloodypore.]

But the streets are clean and the trees are well-watered, so why care?

Singapore (Government, judiciary, bus-drivers who close doors on aged people) has just been so morally DISAPPOINTING to me.

And I say so every now and then. And I wonder why my blog is not as popular as Mr Browns!


Mr Wang, if I was Socrates, I could tear you to shreds logically (maybe), but I'm not a philosopher and neither am I a lawyer however your example seemed framed in a most biased way. You start with the "truth": the fact that someone is guilty and then ask us which is the most efficient way to hang them!

As my limited brain negotiates the relativistic moral world, I find that Justice is not JUST about efficiency or even truth. It is about mitigation and understanding as well.

What is truth?, asked Pilate. Even Jesus didn't know the answer to that one."


Other than that, no opinion.

[Addendum: Before you accuse of going overboard (which I know I have), yes, I realize that it's a much better place to live (OK XenoBoy- it's safer too) than most other places in SE-Asia, but as I said, it's this feeling of being let down by the anticipation of Singapore being much more like Hong Kong than being like Thailand or Malaysia or god forbid, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines (the VIP countries!)...]



Posted by: expat@large on Oct 26, 05 | 12:54 am | Profile


hey Phil,

Nice post.

As a balance, I think that there are people who do care,its not silence. But they talk about such things in coffeeshops, while they're playing chess in the park, having a drink before 4D day and than it ends. Its how it is now because the means of expressing such sentiments politically got lost as Sg became what it is today.

You do have a right to be morally disappointed but I hope someday, somehow, you will still like Sg, for not what it represents politically but for the hope in some of its people that there is a chance for change. To step beyond the Between.

Now get yourself a drink!

Posted by: XenoBoy on Oct 26, 05 | 9:05 pm

The only argument I can think of to counter MrWang is the following taken from wiki..

Presumption of innocence is an essential right that the accused enjoys in criminal trials in all countries respecting human rights [Singapore doesn't respect human rights]. It states that "no person shall be considered guilty until finally convicted by a court". The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to convince the court of the guilt of the accused.

Conversely, in many authoritarian regimes [Singapore is high up on this list], the prosecution case is, in practice, believed by default unless the accused can prove he is innocent — presumption of guilt.

Posted by: singabloodypore on Oct 26, 05 | 9:29 pm

oh and speaking as someone who has never been arrested...

Never speak in a police station unless accompanied by a lawyer. Confirm your name, address etc.. Then wait for a lawyer.

Posted by: singabloodypore on Oct 26, 05 | 9:40 pm

XB, of course I know that there are people who care, and who talk about it amongst themselves - they may even blog about it, but they blog in that "monkey talk" (quoting MaineBabe) Singlish and I can't read any of it - I look at the spelling and my brain goes ba-boing!

In fact as soon as someone puts an "orredy lah" in their post, I am orredy out of there lah.


Exactly Steve, Mr Wang's post was like a Socratic parable: set up to prove his point under the guise of logic. He was a member of the DPP of course (Mr Wang not Socrates), so he is a legal fish immersed the judicial water of his environmental biases... As easy to convince him of an alternative as to de-programme a Moonie. If he had been trained as a defense lawyer instead he would (or should) have another opinion to be sure.

Only nearly been arrested once: at the HK 7's.

Posted by: expat@large on Oct 26, 05 | 10:34 pm

When I'm home, lemme buy you a beer in the heart of darkness!

Actually, the other argument to Mr Wang is simply : Why not?

If the investigative process is already as efficient as set up in the thought experiment, a lawyer's presence, early or late, makes no difference.

Which is the gist of what MANY commenters are saying, hey wait! The investigative process may not be so efficient. why this implicit trust in the Police?

And there you have it.

Was interviewed once by Sg Police for 'affray'.

Posted by: XenoBoy on Oct 27, 05 | 12:05 am


Notify me when someone replies to this post?
Submit the word you see below:

Powered by pMachine