"At the heart of the Public Order Act is one key philosophy.Second Minister for Home Affairs, Mr K Shanmugam, said: "The approach is to seek the optimal balance between the freedom to exercise political rights while not affecting public safety security and not affecting stability."Have we gotten that balance right? Well, ask yourselves two questions. In our region, which country would you rather be in? And amongst the countries in the world which became independent in the 1950s and 60s, which country would you rather be in?"-- CNA, "Parliament passes new Bill to manage law and order", 14 Apr 09
To read Shanmugam's speech in full is to be thoroughly amazed by a speech that is replete with elementary false-dilemmas and double-speak. Predictably, the nation-building propagandists are all out spinning happy stories about what seem to me more like a dictatorship passing, through its sham 'parliament', an edict that further tightens the noose around the citizens' necks.
And of course, as with many other laws in Singapore passed ostensibly to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity, these laws also invariably constrain the Opposition, crush dissent, and ensure the continued dominance of the ruling regime.
While we perch comfortably on the fences: "we really want to support the Opposition, but Tsk Tsk, they are so weak, and such a bunch of losers. "
Without really asking why. Without realising who the real losers are. Tsk Tsk.
But above all, what is most fascinating is how Singaporeans themselves - docile, disciplined, depoliticised - allow these despisable things to be done to them, so unabashedly, so easily, and they carry on with their daily lives as if nothing is happening. As if it's none of their concern. As if oppression is just fine.