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Australians to Boycott Singapore?

The Middle Ages are resurgent here in Singapore with another hanging coming up - Thailand-born, Australian-raised, Australian citizen, Nguyen Tuong Van will be facing the expertise of Singapore's reluctant hangman Darshan Singh maybe this Friday.

Nguyen, not a drug user or pusher, was forced to attempt a quick mule-run as a way to save his brother from loan sharks. He was detained in Changi transit lounge - technically not even in Singapore as he hadn't gone through customs.

(Meanwhile Singapore gahmen still pushes for closer economic dealings with the drug-lord junta in Myanmar.)

So it finally seems that E@L's indignation at things Singaporean is becoming something of an Aussie pastime.

Australians still tend to have a semi-clown-like image of the laughing-stock, tin-pot tyranny under Lee Kwan Yue, with its whimsical and arbitrary proscriptions of long hair and chewing-gum, whenever they think about Singapore (if they do at all.) Under his son's Prime Ministership (what sort of country has father-son leaders? North Korea. Any others?) it remains Disneyland with the (Mandatory) Death Penalty, and Australians are being reminded of that very much with this Nguyen diplomatic incident.


From some Australian newspapers:

The Age.

But there is plenty that can be done by Australians who believe state-sanctioned killing — however odious the crime — has no place in a civilised society.
They can boycott Singapore-owned companies such as Optus and Singapore Airlines, they can take their shopping holidays elsewhere, they can protest against the thousands of Singapore military who train on Australian soil and they can start flying to Europe via Bangkok — not a bad idea when a visit to the transit lounge at Changi Airport can finish in a cell at Changi prison.

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Some correspondents have responded to Mark Baker's call for a boycott -- both as a travel destination and of its companies, such as Singapore Airlines and Optus -- by asking why single out Singapore.
I tell you why. Because it is a petty dictatorship that pretends to be so much more.


Stephen at Singabloodypore has lots on this issue.



Posted by: expat@large on Oct 30, 05 | 3:50 pm | Profile


Given the "success" of the Great Schapelle Corby Boycott, I doubt Optus and SIA have much to worry about.

Anyway, Singapore has always had a tradition of protecting Changi Airport from becoming a Drug Trafficking Hub. e.g. back in 1996 this Dutch guy received 10 strokes of the cane for getting caught with E while on transit at Changi.

Posted by: chlim01 on Oct 31, 05 | 1:00 pm

That's true, success nor even influence is certainly guarenteed, but nobility lies in making the effort...

(Hypocritical and ambiguous messages on the death penalty are being sent by the current Howard Govt: that don't help the cause! One longs for the days when an Aussie PM would stand up to his SEA counterparts. Hawke calling an execution in Indonesia "barbaric" - Keating calling Mahatir "recalcitrant"... Ah the glory days!)

Other countries apparently are much less harsh on people caught in "transit" and don't use the same laws as they would for actual importation of drugs, as the courier is not directly threatening that country's population.

Posted by: expat@large on Oct 31, 05 | 4:50 pm


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