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

On Sun, 1 Sep 1996 [email protected] wrote:

> James Seng wrote:
> > 
> > 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.
> America is much less different from Singapore in that respect than
> you might think.

Actually, it is. I've been living in South-East Asia for almost one
decade now, and I can tell you that most citizen are more socially
conservative than their governments. A few years ago, the Singapore
government had to backtrack from a very timid relaxation of rules on
soft-porn movies due to the negative reactions from the public. In
Singapore, the problem is compounded by the need of preserving good 
relationships with the even more conservative Malay minority, whose stances 
have strong backing by the two large neighbours, Malaysia and Indonesia
(the case I mentioned had prompted accusations to the government, by 
members of the opposition Workers Party, of planning the "corruption of 
the Islamic youth").

Of course, one may argue that the racial, social and religious relations
are better handled the American way. That, however, is a controversial
issue, and adopting confrontational cowboy attitudes is not going to make
the social evolution any faster. Besides, I don't think that the Singapore
government can really believe to be able of blocking access to anything on
the net: a while ago I had the occasion of talking with some medium rank
officers, and they sounded fully aware of the Internet technology and its
implications - and willing to take the plunge. IMHO, the present measures
represent more a gesture of appeasement to concerned social conservatives,
not differently from the CDA in the US, than an attempt to control the
flow of information.