TODAY: What’s ‘sedition?’ debate goes online

1409VOL028

Excerpt:

Bloggers react to news of charge against 2 for ‘racist rants’
TWO bloggers were charged on Monday under the Sedition Act for allegedly racist comments made on an online forum and on a website. Naturally, this has sent ripples through the blogging community.

Read more at TODAYonline. (PDF version here).

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‘Coup de Grace’ (coupdegras.zenguerrilla.org) reflects one immediate reaction of bloggers just hours after news broke. Since his own blog entries have “spoken out against Singapore’s version of affirmative action, does that make me liable to charges?” he asks.

Arguing that the legal action would “stifle” beneficial expression and debate, he describes the sections of the Sedition Act under which the bloggers were charged as “disturbing [sic] vague”.

Indeed, it was the first time several bloggers had ever heard of the term ‘sedition’ or the Sedition Act. The introduction was a little confusing for some.
Singaporean “Zeenie” (zeenie.blogspot.com) reveals: “The only (other) time I’ve heard the word ‘sedition’ used was in (the movie) Last of the Mohicans.”
Those curious enough started looking up the Act online (statutes.agc.gov.sg).

Blogger “Jeff Yen” (jeffyen.blogspot.com), 29, who was one such, admits he “also didn’t know at first what ‘sedition’ meant”, and looking up its definition confused him a little – since, he writes, “‘Sedition’ actually means words or actions that make people rebel against authority.”

Student “Agagooga” (gssq.blogspot.com) also asks: “Am I the only one who still doesn’t really get what a “seditious tendency” is? If it’s anything that raises discontent or disaffection, or promotes feelings of ill-will and hostility, how does that differ from any number of casual remarks made by a person… in the course of a given day?”

“David” (rocklah.com), a national serviceman in his 20s, says the fact that people can be arrested “for voicing their opinion” strikes fear into him. “People may argue that if I play by the rules, I’ll be fine. But, who determines the rules?”

Others question if the use of the law is a double-edged sword. Shanghai-based Canadian blogger Myrick (asiapundit.com) observes: “This doesn’t solve the problem of racism, it forces it underground to fester.”

But, perhaps in anticipation of an avalanche of pro-free speech hyperbole from other bloggers reacting to the case, ‘Alee J’ (aleej.com), a University of Bristol law student, notes that Singapore isn’t the only country with limits on free speech.

“Somehow, people tend to forget that even the nations that are, purportedly, the greatest supporters of free speech and democracy have similar measures to our Sedition Act in place.”

‘Alee J’ also holds the view that the bloggers charged in court on Monday should have followed this simple maxim: “Freedom of speech is a tool that must be exercised judiciously and with great caution, as with any tool of great power.

“It is not a shield that one should be able to cower under should comments be made that it does not cover. This is not merely a local concept … clearly, if these lads had followed the same approach they wouldn’t have been indicted.”

Mr Miyagi a.k.a. Benjamin Lee, has been entertaining blog readers for a year at www.miyagi.sg, and never offends or insults anyone with his innocuous blog posts.

BOX 1:
WHAT THE LAW SAYS:
Section 3.1 of the Sedition Act defines a “seditious tendency” as a tendency to…
(a) bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government;
(b) excite the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore to attempt to procure in Singapore, the alteration, otherwise than by lawful means, of any matter as by law established;
(c) bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the administration of justice in Singapore;
(d) raise discontent or disaffection amongst the citizens of Singapore or the residents in Singapore;
(e) promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.

BOX 2:
WHAT BLOGGERS SAY:
Some off-the-cuff tips on how to avoid being accused of sedition…

Sheena (merenwen13.blogspot.com):
“Moderate your words online in such a way that they express your feelings but aren’t completely disrespectful or insulting.”

Michael Chua (michaelchua.blogspot.com):
“If we don’t want to get into trouble, then steer clear of those of topics.”

Cowboy Caleb (cowboycaleb.liquidblade.com):
“The (Web) is a public place, and as such if you have nothing nice to say then shut the hell up.”

Agagooga (gssq.blogspot.com):
“Better by far to stick to infantility, I say.”

Tym (toomanythoughts.org/blog):
“Be personal, be political, certainly be responsible, and pray very hard that no one finds you seditious.”

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25 thoughts on “TODAY: What’s ‘sedition?’ debate goes online”

  1. Hey Miyagi, can you tell me how much Today pay you for writing this column hah? Can recommend me to them? Look like a very simple job leh. Hahaha. Joking only hor. Please don’t get offended.

  2. Hey Miyagi, can you tell me how much Today pay you for writing this column hah? Can recommend me to them? Look like a very simple job leh. Hahaha. Joking only hor. Please don’t get offended.

  3. Some will understand this immediately. Some will never get it. The elite will question it because it strikes at the heart of their own motivations. Read the sedition act very closely. Notice the order of protection and ask yourself who the act really protects? Races should always live in harmony, but the question is “Does harmony mean suppression?” Once again, notice the order and ask yourself why race is mentioned last. Was it even meant to be mentioned at all? Now considered the wording in the sedition act. Think of how it is applied without even being referenced or invoked. In life, the symbol of yin and yang should always apply. Where its applications are constrained, eventually the suppressed force will have to balance itself. The problem is those with the responsibility to ensure the balance of Yin and Yang, often exert the force most favored, tipping the balance to a lopsided monoply. The Yang finds it easier to suffocate the Yin, but only subtley, with instances of blantant constraint when the Yin seeks to attempt balance. Ask yourself how Yin and Yang relates to the sedition act and its application in society. Then you will begin to understand a much larger picture.

  4. Some will understand this immediately. Some will never get it. The elite will question it because it strikes at the heart of their own motivations. Read the sedition act very closely. Notice the order of protection and ask yourself who the act really protects? Races should always live in harmony, but the question is “Does harmony mean suppression?” Once again, notice the order and ask yourself why race is mentioned last. Was it even meant to be mentioned at all? Now considered the wording in the sedition act. Think of how it is applied without even being referenced or invoked. In life, the symbol of yin and yang should always apply. Where its applications are constrained, eventually the suppressed force will have to balance itself. The problem is those with the responsibility to ensure the balance of Yin and Yang, often exert the force most favored, tipping the balance to a lopsided monoply. The Yang finds it easier to suffocate the Yin, but only subtley, with instances of blantant constraint when the Yin seeks to attempt balance. Ask yourself how Yin and Yang relates to the sedition act and its application in society. Then you will begin to understand a much larger picture.

  5. Gabriel forgot to put the lah, so a bit confusing, don’t know who says what. But miyagi also got not much escuze loh, Tym wrote that in *this* blog 2 days ago! Wahahaaa

  6. Gabriel forgot to put the lah, so a bit confusing, don’t know who says what. But miyagi also got not much escuze loh, Tym wrote that in *this* blog 2 days ago! Wahahaaa

  7. in fact… kids/teens should have a subject on “General Laws in Singapore” to learn (no need exam).. or else ended up like us, dunno about the general law and break them unknowingly.

  8. in fact… kids/teens should have a subject on “General Laws in Singapore” to learn (no need exam).. or else ended up like us, dunno about the general law and break them unknowingly.

  9. Reason is simple. Racism is always a tool for politically motivated violence and foreign subversion. We have an ugly history stained with blood, shall not happen ever again. Nuff.

  10. Reason is simple. Racism is always a tool for politically motivated violence and foreign subversion. We have an ugly history stained with blood, shall not happen ever again. Nuff.

  11. Madda,

    thank you for your advice. I shall now lead my life with the I-Ching and other principles of my Chinese ancestors, fully believing that they will guide me correctly with regards to homosexuals, religion, and integrated resorts.

    Furthermore, in accordance with Yin and Yang, I shall now advocate torture of criminals, and non-criminals to promote public safety, as well as absolute monarchy and the binding of feet of daughters.

  12. Madda,

    thank you for your advice. I shall now lead my life with the I-Ching and other principles of my Chinese ancestors, fully believing that they will guide me correctly with regards to homosexuals, religion, and integrated resorts.

    Furthermore, in accordance with Yin and Yang, I shall now advocate torture of criminals, and non-criminals to promote public safety, as well as absolute monarchy and the binding of feet of daughters.

  13. Well, this is a great lesson learnt. Never ever blog racist topics in Singpore.. Hmm.. Maybe when u on Singapore Airlines Airplane to Iraq or other countries, den u can try.. haha.. But i bet they will catch u before u alight the plane.. Haha… Anyway, learn this, never say any race or use words directly linked to violence.. Haha.. Use Abbreivations..[Sorry for wrong spelling] Maybe u can den explain to the judge? Haha..

    Last, the yin and yang… Is for feng shui use only.. Dun try to bring in monrachy here.. We’re in a democratic society.. Use the cross..

  14. Well, this is a great lesson learnt. Never ever blog racist topics in Singpore.. Hmm.. Maybe when u on Singapore Airlines Airplane to Iraq or other countries, den u can try.. haha.. But i bet they will catch u before u alight the plane.. Haha… Anyway, learn this, never say any race or use words directly linked to violence.. Haha.. Use Abbreivations..[Sorry for wrong spelling] Maybe u can den explain to the judge? Haha..

    Last, the yin and yang… Is for feng shui use only.. Dun try to bring in monrachy here.. We’re in a democratic society.. Use the cross..

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