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Re: DON'T Nuke Singapore Back into the Stone Age

On Sat, 31 Aug 1996, Timothy C. May wrote:
> The point is to make clear to them that the Usenet and similar Web sites
> are global in nature, not subject to censorship without a very high local
> cost. If discussions of Lee Kwan Yew's dynasty are considered illegal, then
> Singaporans will have to choose not to carry the various newsgroups into
> which *I* post such messages!

Just let to add my comment in regard to this unforuntate discusssion.

To understand the sitution better, you should not impose America 
idealogy and perspection on how things to be done to Singapore. Singapore 
maybe young but there are certain culture too.

Most importantly, the move to censor certain WWW site actually comes as a 
relieve to many people, especially parents who worried about the bad 
influence of it. We can go into the same discussion about whose 
responsibilty it is but before you do that, please bear in mind that this 
is Singapore. As an example of what i mean, few years back, when they 
introduced R rating movies uncensored in Singapore for people above 18, 
it cause a surge in soft-porn movie to be screened. There is a general 
dissatifaction among the people and the government was force to shift the 
age limit to 21. And then later revised the R rating to R(A), where A stands 
for artistic which rules out soft-porn. It may be surprising but many
people (in Singapore) do welcome censorship sad to say.

In addition, you need to see the method of censorship deployed in
Singapore. For press media like papers and magazine, it is done in a
passive manner. They _do not_ read every issue of every magazine available
in Singapore. They only do so when there is enough complains. For example,
the incident of "Wired" banning due to the article "Disney with a Death
Penalty" was prompted by complains by the public before action is done. 
(This is related to me by some frens of mine working in the ministry who
is directly involved in the incident). Similarly, they are deploying the
same method to WWW. 

One more point. They know it is impossible to censor everything. It is
possible for me to order Wired directly from US. But still they do it. To
quote, "We are doing it for the sake of doing it. The intention is to make
it difficult to access to such information although we know it is
impossible to prevent all." (I may missed some words but the idea is
that). I have a long argument with this person, telling him that despite
what they have done, i could still access to those stuff which they ban.
his reasoning is "how many people can do it? 10%? 5%? That's fine with us.
If the people really wans it, they can get it". 

In actual fact, the move to put all people on proxy was not a surprise to 
many of us. The first time i know of such an intention was in Aug 95, 
which is one year back. They _have_ been doing studies and testing since 
then. The ISPs have been well informed and have been doing their own 
testing too since then.

I am writting this based on an experience in Singapore for more than 12 
yrs (Yes, i am not a Singaporean). if you wish to rebuke the points which 
i mention above, please feel free to do so but do so in the context wrt 
Singapore culture. Do not impose the general idealogy and culture within 
your country into your argument. (Oh yea, dont give me the "Bull shit! 
This fren of mine so-and-so have said that ....". We talking about 
general idealogy of the people, not of a single person)

Lastly, do _not_ misunderstood that i support the censorship. I never do 
and never will. Nor do i really feels that what they doing are right.  
There are some people like me who disapproved the moves but the voice is 
really too small to make a difference...yet.

> To be blunt, if Singapore wants to stop me from discussing the dictator Yew
> and his feeble son, they can't. Except by pulling the plugs on forums in
> which my posts are carried. I consider this a Good Thing (that politicians
> in Country A generally have no power to tell citizen-units in Country B
> what they can say and what they can't).

Now, what makes you think that citizen of Country A has the power or 
rights to tell politicians of Country B what to do and what they cannot do?
Just wondering.

ps: Sorry for the off-topic discussion.

-James Seng