Getting into this box is what's best for both of us. During your time in the box, you will learn so much, and yet experience so little. It's a wild ride, my friend, one well worth the time spent...and let's face it, you don't have much to do these days anyway.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Singaporean delusions of democracy.

In the midst of the hoo-hah over the recent vaguely-worded "licensing framework" for "news sites" by the Singapore government, on which I have not really reported because frankly, people around these parts have been half-expecting some attempt at internet censorship by now.

What I found interesting in particular, is this:
And then ask yourself: why should you, as a citizen of this country, be subject to such state-imposed fear? Why should those who should be your servants in turn lord over your very right to speak up – a right which is guaranteed in our Constitution?

Ask yourself: why should a bunch of unelected bureaucrats in a statutory board have such immense power over you?


Article 14 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore guarantees that “every citizen of Singapore has the right to freedom of speech and expression”.

We must not let this right be so easily usurped by unelected bureaucrats, without any engagement, discussion, debate or dialogue. For if we do, then what is the value of our Constitution and what it guarantees us as citizens, especially if you cannot even post comments on websites?

Surely, it is not the intent of our Constitution to forbid this.
 Let me draw attention to a couple of phrases: "unelected bureaucrats in a statutory board" and "usurped by unelected bureaucrats without any engagement, discussion, debate or dialogue". Hell, let's narrow it down even more to one word:


Has that sunk in yet?

"Unelected". Say that three times, then turn around and clap your hands.


Now, fellow Singaporeans, let's imagine that there was an election tomorrow, and you threw all the MPs out of parliament through the ballot box. Let's imagine that happened without any shenanigans pulled like what happened during the recent Malaysian elections. Let's imagine that, say, the Worker's Party or whichever joke of an opposition party formed the new government, hurray hurray, stick a flag in it, it's done.

Who is going to oversee your CPF?

Who is going to overlook your Medisave and Medishield?

Who makes the laws that govern your lives? It's definitely not the MPs in any substantive amount.

Who controls the media?

Who makes sure the buses and trains run on time?

Etc, etc, etc...

Can you vote them out? Oh no, you can't.

Can the government you voted in root them all out and throw them out of their positions, even if it wanted to? As likely as Elvis suddenly reappearing in the middle of the desert like some B-horror/SF movie.

Democracy and the power of the ballot box is the biggest delusion of our modern age, and it's not hard to see why: it allows people to operate under the belief that they have some control over their fate. You voted? Then you endorsed the system and have to accept the result. You didn't vote? Then you have no right to complain, aye?

What a pretty lie. If not for the fact that refusing to vote is an offence in Singapore, I wouldn't even bother.
"Hey man, I still think we can turn this around." That's what your vote says. Voting implies consent. It implies that you still believe in the system and are satisfied with your options. I'm not advocating apathy. I don't want you to stop caring. I want you to stop believing. I want you to withdraw your consent. The best thing you can do for your country - for the men around you, for the future - is to let the system tear itself apart.
- Jack Donovan.

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