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Re: Encourage Singapore To Come Out Of the Stone Age

At 11:29 PM 9/1/96 -0700, Bill Stewart wrote:
>bring it into disrespect deserves no respect at all.  Any government 
>that claims to have the god-like wisdom to dictate what's best for
>its subjects to hear or what religious ideas to believe doesn't
>deserve to be listened to, much less obeyed.   If Singapore's government
>and religious leaders want to say "Our ideas are better than American
>ideas", and you or I or your neighbor want to listen to them, fine;

I think you have misunderstood my posting. I never say Singapore ideas are
better than American ideas. What i am saying is that Asian (Singapore)
values are _DIFFERENT_ from western (America) values. [i know i am generalising]

When you look at the laws and regulation. You cannot just look at what you
think is best. You have to look at other things. Culture, social and
economical structure, religion and history. In every aspect, Singapore (or
most Asian for that matter) are different. Thus, you cannot judge a
Singapore government action based on your social background.

My purpose of posting is to hope to bring some light to the people here
about some social norm in Singapore, hopefully to explain why the government
choose to block certain WWW and yet was not strongly opposited here.

Secondly, you do not need to convience me. I agree with you totally. What
you have to convience is the general population here, against the culture,
the society and everything.

>maybe some of their ideas are better than some of the many ideas
>floating around North America.  But if you or I or your neighbor
>want to listen to competing ideas, and even to believe and talk about
>competing ideas, neither you nor the government have the right to
>stop them - only to refute them with better ideas.

Nope. I am open to ideas which is why i been watching to this thread. I find
it is rather constructive to see how people think about Singapore and then
compare it with my own ideas. However, i also know it is useless to have
continue discussion with fanatic as they have a tendancy to distored what
you say to suit their argument. Nor are they particular open minded to
listen to others like our dear Tim has clearly shown us. This is why i am
responsing to your article and not his.

>On the other hand, if a power-hungry government decides that it doesn't
>like American TV, forbids business licenses to anyone who broadcasts it,
>and jails anyone who broadcasts TV without a business license,
>they're more corrupt than a government that forbids business licenses to
>anyone who doesn't pay a bribe.  (At least in a kleptocracy,
>you can usually print or say what you want if you pay the bribes, 
>though my father-in-law's newspaper was once shut down for printing 
>that the mayor was taking bribes, and who they were from, and how much.)

Sad to say, Singapore government does have a lot of power. But i am glad
what you mention isnt happening in Singapore. I havent heard of any serious
corruption cases or people accepting bribes etc. Nor does the people here
feel a suppressed nor are there general disatifaction. I think you are too
influenced with the persepection from 1984. *8)

All things works both ways. Power is no otherwise.

>This also means you don't know what is safe to print and what isn't.
>You have to restrict yourself very strongly, because otherwise
>some politically influential person will complain to the government,
>and you go to jail.  At least if the government tells you what
>the rules are, you know it's safe to say things that don't violate them.

You dont go to jail for writing articles. You might be sue for deframation
if you published something untrue (similar to your civil lawsuit i guess?)
and have to pay large sum of money to the person but you dont go to jail.

And yes, they are telling the people what _are_ the things now so you know
what to avoid.

>It also means that if enough people want information badly enough,
>the government may know not to censor it.  On the other hand,
>a government that can keep the leader of an opposition political party
>in jail for years just because he opposes them is pretty corrupt.

I am not interested in politics so i didnt really know what is happening in
that case. for that, i have no comment.

>The right to speak freely without government thugs shutting you down
>and throwing you in jail or killing you is a universal one. 
>The ability to get anybody to listen to what you have to say,
>on the other hand, is highly dependent both on general culture
>and on the interests of the individuals you hope will listen,
>as well as on what you have to say and your ability to say it well.

Very true. So does the First Amendment said. Singapore does have such
similar law as First Amendment which is slight "modified". You have freedom
of speech as long as your comments does not endanger religious/racist
harmony and national security. (I do not know the exact term..need a lawyer
for that..). The reasons for this are for historical reasons which trace back.

>Because I have a mouth and a conscience, and they have ears and consciences.  
>I certainly have more right to tell a politician in Country B not to
>stop his subjects from speaking than he does to order them not to speak.
>And if the politicians over here are wrong, which they often are,
>you've got the right to tell them that too.  Of course, the politicians
>over here usually won't listen to you, and the politicians over there
>either won't listen to me or they'll add my name to the firewall killfile :-)
>But it's also safer for me to tell your politicians to behave well than
>for you to tell them, since you have to live with them.

Fair enough. Point taken and you are right. I was able to say that you are
not the one who are going to vote for/against them in the next election. *8)

>It's not off-topic.  Building tools to prevent censorship is 
>distinctly on-topic for cypherpunks, and an occasional digression into
>whether it's a good idea is worthwhile.

Perhaps but not to the other thousand of other cypherpunk subscribers. With
this, i hope i have explained any misunderstanding with the previous
posting. If you wish to carried on with this discussion, please feel feel to
email me directly.

-James Seng