Be Serious, Okay?

Saturday, April 15, 2006

GRC: Gender, Race, Change

With the benefit of hindsight and the marvel of Google Video, I sit in the cold comfort of my room - away from the dust in the heat of the battle where MM Lee puts on his intimidating knuckle-dusters - I carefully review the video of the recent MM Lee Dialogue televised on CNA.

This was a rare event on local screens, the sight of a senior government figure in conversation with young Singaporeans on political issues. As a young Singaporean who is about to vote for the first time, I felt both excited and skeptical about the Dialogue. I was excited because I saw this as an encouraging sign of the Media’s willingness to push OB markers in coverage of local politics; skeptical because of the popular perception that there is no fair and objective coverage of local politics in the Media. That's the problem with politics being practised in an openly unfair manner. Citizens become cynical of the government. I'll return to the unfairness point in future posts, since I feel very strongly about it. For now, I’ll like to focus on the topic of GRCs and MM Lee’s justifications for the GRC system.

The participants asked whether GRCs are necessary for Singapore, especially in view of the (unintended?) consequence of discouraging political contest during general elections.

MM Lee replied that GRCs were introduced in 1988 because women and racial minorities could not get elected into parliament. Voters wanted MPs who could speak their native languages of Hokkien & Teochew whom they could better relate to. MM Lee did not elaborate on why women could not get elected.

I’m not sure PAP even attempted to field female candidates in the general elections before 1988. Did MM Lee test his theory of voters’ gender bias by fielding a strong PAP female candidate pre-1988? If MM Lee did not even try fielding a single female candidate pre-1988, little wonder he had difficulty getting any woman elected into parliament!

Regarding the supposed voters’ bias towards Chinese MPs, one of the participants, Mr Ken Kwok, pointed out that this was not an absolute barrier to strong racial minority candidates getting elected. Ken cited the examples of 2 Malay PAP MPs, Abbas Abu Amin in 1984 and Abdullah bin Tarmugi in 1988 who could get elected. Presumably, both Malay MPs single handedly faced Chinese opposition candidates and won. (CORRECTION: Abbas Abu Amin was part of a victorious 3 man PAP team which was contested in Tanjong Pagar GRC. However, Addullah bin Tarmugi did win his contest single-handedly in 1988 in the Siglap SMC) MM Lee declared that these 2 MPs won because of overwhelming PAP support which compensated for their racial handicap. According to MM Lee, the 80’s generation voted for the PAP and the PAP was in “complete control”. Again, MM Lee’s penchant for absolutism is apparent: in 1981, PAP lost its complete control in Parliament when Mr JBJ won the Anson by-election and in 1984 Mr JBJ was re-elected together with Mr Chiam See Tong who remains the MP for Potong Pasir constituency after 22 years. One could argue that the voters’ desire for Opposition MPs began in the 1980s and that the 2 Malay PAP MPs won because voters were matured enough to recognise good candidates, regardless of their race or religion.

One female participant legitimately asked: is the PAP’s lack of confidence in voters a self-fulfilling prophecy that perpetuates a vicious cycle of gender and racial differences highlighted in the form of positive discrimination in the GRC system?

Not according to MM Lee. He declared that humans have “basic, visceral, emotional bias’ in favour of MPs belonging to the same race (and same gender?). MM Lee states that this is the ‘reality’ in Singapore and even in the year 2006, PAP will continue with the practice of not fielding any racial minorities or women in single member constituencies because PAP believes that they will be rejected by the biased voters.

I do not share MM Lee’s belief that voters’ racial and gender bias is frozen in time and that the public cannot vote responsibly. A responsible voting public understands that what should matter is the personality of the candidate and their track record, not their race or gender. With an increasingly educated and worldly populace, the differences among us, especially the language barrier, is not as pronounced today as it was in the 60s-80s when English was not yet a first language and people did not travel widely. Today, there are more inter-racial marriages and racial lines are blurring. Today, women are highly regarded in the workplace and society. Indeed, PAP recognises the important role of women and will field more female candidates for the coming elections, a proposition unthinkable to the PAP in the 60s-80s. Of course, there will forever be differences between man and woman, Chinese and non-Chinese. But surely through the passage of time and lessons from history, it is not unrealistic to expect that we are capable of reducing this degree of bias through common understanding? Have we not matured and progressed at all in nation building since 1965?

As for the maximum number of MPs in a GRC being increased from 3 to 6, MM Lee stated that this was because PAP thinks that a bigger GRC is a good way to 'test' the Opposition's ability to run the government. This is an interesting point brought up by MM Lee. In the context of MM Lee's admission that local politics is unfair, one wonders what is the motivation behind PAP's self-appointed responsiblity to 'test' the Opposition. Shouldn't the voters be the best judge and set the 'test' standards for both PAP and the Opposition? Does the PAP 'test' include the unreasonably long wait for allocation of government funding to Opposition wards which limits the capability of Opposition MPs to implement estate improvements?

Disclaimer: I do not make representations that my statements are 100% accurate. I do represent that my opinions are honestly held. I do not have names or evidence that will satisfy a court of law. Any misrepresentation of opinion or fact is unintentional, innocent and will be corrected if brought to my attention.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Death Penalty MCQ

Spotted at

This guy is a genius.
(Edit: I am not the only one who thinks that Mr Wang is brilliant. Check out what his other readers say about him and his blog)

Mr Wang Says So said...
And really, there aren't "10 billion" versions of views on the matter. If you really boil it down - I remember seeing a rather neat essay on this - the issue just comes down to six or seven main arguments, and you can take either side of it. You could break it down into a flowchart and fit it on one page. Here, let me try to show you:

Argument 1

A. "Capital punishment is against human rights. In fact it's against the most basic human right of all."

B. "My government doesn't believe in human rights."

Argument 2

A. "Capital punishment is an effective deterrent and reduces crime."

B. "Studies do not show capital punishment to be an effective deterrent. And there are many other possible ways to reduce crime" or ... "Human life is too precious" or ... "There are many equally effective methods of deterrence."

Argument 3

A. "God doesn't like capital punishment."

B. "My government is bigger than your God / I don't believe in God."

Argument 4

A. "Capital punishment is cheap, you don't have to feed the guy for years and years."

B. "You shouldn't kill people just because it costs money to keep them alive."

Argument 5

A. "This man intentionally killed someone. He deserves death."

B. "Two wrongs don't make a right" or "Revenge? Oh, you're so ... primitive."

Argument 6

A. "Let's kill him, for the sake of the victim's family."

B. "How on earth does killing him help the victim's family?"

Argument 7

A. "What if you hang the wrong person? The death penalty is irreversible."

B. "Oh, our legal system is very good. It won't happen."

~~~~~~~~~~~That's all there is, really.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No hypocrisy, just dilemma

The Singapore government is in "constructive engagement" with a military regime that supports drug trafficking.This "constructive engagement" includes being the no.1 investor in Myanmar and one of the top exporters of goods to Myanmar. Also, our local banks provide financial services for Myanmarese businessmen. All "above board business” as our government has stressed before. Indeed, there is no evidence of a direct link between our government and the drug lords in Myanmar.

Despite the lack of evidence, there is arguably an indirect link vis-a-vis the Myanmar military regime and the drug lords. Only the naive will believe that the Myanmar government is not involved in the fact that Myanmar is now the no.2 producer of opium/heroin in the world.As long as the Myanmar military regime is in power, the drug lords will thrive under their blessings. The drug lords are supplying the drug traffickers that we execute routinely. The drug lords keep sending their runners, we keep killing people.

Is this an ethical foreign policy in view of Singapore’s “war on drugs” and the policy dictated mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers?

I would have no problem with the Myanmar investments and the economic gains if the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers is abolished. After all, it is debatable whether sanctions will work to change the Myanmar military regime.However, as long as Singapore's execution deathtoll keeps rising in line with its increasing investments in Myanmar, our government would have lost all moral authority with me.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Singapore's Nguyen drugs claim disputed

Singapore's Nguyen drugs claim disputed

A prominent drug researcher has rejected the Singapore government's claim Nguyen Tuong Van was carrying enough heroin to ruin 26,000 lives.

Nguyen, who is due to be executed on December 2, was caught at Singapore's Changi airport in 2002 with almost 400g of heroin.

The speaker of the Singapore parliament, Abdullah Tarmugi, wrote in a letter to his Australian counterpart David Hawker that Nguyen knew the consequences of his actions, which would have supplied "enough for more than 26,000 doses of heroin for drug addicts".

But Melbourne University Associate Professor John Fitzgerald said, based on estimations of about 30 per cent purity at a street level, the heroin was enough for 6,000 to 8,000 doses - enough to supply just six to eight dependent users in one year.

He said Singapore's figures were "just plainly inconsistent with the way we understand the drug market."

"So any sense that the punishment fits the crime needs to be very much reconsidered," he said.
The 26,000 doses claimed in the letter, based on estimates that heavy users inject 17 times a week, would only service the needs of 26 heavy dependent heroin users over a year, he said.

Dr Fitzgerald added that not all heroin consumers had their lives ruined.

"We know that the proportion of people who have to seek treatment because of their heroin use is anywhere from 10 to 30 per cent of the total heroin use population," he said.

"There seems to be an overestimation of the impact of law enforcement on the heroin market at present."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Open letter to drug traffickers

NOTE: mrdarren is against the mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers

Dear Drug Trafficker,

We take pride in our harsh and transparent drug laws. We tell the whole world that if you get caught transporting drugs, you pay the price, you die. No room for negotiation.

No, we are not interested in hearing your excuses, motives, and reasons for choosing to transport drugs. No, we don’t care that you were a young man of 22 with no previous criminal record when arrested, you confessed your guilt, and you are willing to cooperate with the police to identify your drug boss. So what if you are truly remorseful and you realize the severity of your crime; you can promise to change for the better but you don’t deserve a second chance in life.

You beg for our forgiveness. Why don’t we be merciful and forgive you for a grave mistake, a wrong choice in life? You ought to understand this: Transporting drugs is an unforgivable crime. You showed no concern for the people who will continue their addiction to drugs and the people who will be tempted to try drugs and become addicted. You wanted to profit from their misery. We hate drugs. We hate you for what you did. Don’t you think you deserve to die?

Your death, like many others before you, will serve a greater purpose. The publicity (depending on your nationality) from your execution will send a message to the international drug syndicates: Singapore is no-nonsense when it comes to drugs, don’t send your men here unless you want them to die. The black and white approach to the use of death penalty must be working to keep drugs out of Singapore. Logic says that if we take a harsh non-negotiable stand against drug trafficking, no ordinary person will dare to transport drugs here. What can be scarier than death itself? Everyone is afraid of dying. Everyone knows Singapore shows no mercy to drug traffickers. You will definitely die if you get caught transporting drugs. So why do you still choose to gamble with your life? Don’t be stupid.

We have a responsibility to Singaporeans and the right to take all measures to protect ourselves from the scourge of drugs. Believe you me, Singaporeans are not cruel. We are sad when lives are lost, whether from drug overdoses or executions. Imposing a mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers is not an easy policy decision to make. Deciding to kill someone never is. We really have no choice but to kill you.

May you rest in peace.

Yours Sincerely,
A typical Singaporean

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Turn our backs on the island of death

Turn our backs on the island of death

SINGAPORE is a serial killer. In recent years, hundreds of its citizens and quite a few foreigners have been executed. When it comes to state murder, on a per capita basis, the sterile, claustrophobic Singapore exceeds the dubious records of China, Russia and governor George W. Bush's Texas.

Recently China has started to rein in regional magistrates, bringing the decision-making on the death penalty back to Beijing. Those accounts of instant executions - of prisoners being dragged from the dock to be shot behind the ear and their families being charged for the bullets - have become too embarrassing.

The US is also losing enthusiasm for the death penalty. Too many cases have displayed the gross inequities of the system. Too often DNA evidence has belatedly proven the verdicts unsafe. How many victims have been proven innocent after the switch has been thrown, the pellets dropped, the needles shoved in the veins?

But despite the sales pitch that it's the Switzerland of Asia, Singapore keeps its hangman very busy. The incumbent holds the world record for executions; he is proud to have killed more than 500 of his fellow human beings. His portrait on the front page of this newspaper last month (see inset) was unforgettable: so gross, so boastful, so cheerful of grin and philosophy. "I send them to a better place."

He may be right about that. For all its glitz, Singapore is a harsh, authoritarian society. Yet of all our near neighbours, Singapore is the least criticised. Malaysia is recalcitrant, Indonesia corrupt. But we like Harry Lee's airline, the airport, the duty-free shopping. (Better than Dubai, say the frequent fliers.) Few Australians look behind the glamour of Singapore's airport at the grim realities of neighbouring Changi prison, to the fact that sophisticated, squeaky-clean Singapore is a parody of democracy. As in Mahathir Mohamad's Malaysia, it takes bravery to express dissent, while formal political opposition can lead to prison.

To a very crowded prison, for Singapore has among the highest levels of incarceration on earth. Yet my last column on this city-state, with its overworked hangman, provoked a flurry of letters to the editor defending the place, saying we must respect Singapore's system of laws.

No thanks, and to hell with Harry Lee's line on Asian values.

Singapore's death penalty is overwhelmingly applied to drug couriers and is clearly a total failure, as it is wherever the penalty is used as a strategy in that lost cause called the war on drugs. Nothing stops the trafficking. Singapore could hang thousands - it probably will in due course - and there will be just as many poor fools ready to risk their lives for big money or a pittance. Despite all the publicity about Indonesia's firing squads, you can still recruit Australian teenagers for $500 and a free holiday.

In this form of capitalism, capital punishment doesn't count. Thanks to free market forces, it just ups the ante and the price.

But let's be fair; Singapore is rethinking the death penalty. It's going to abandon the noose and trapdoor, replacing them with the needle and gurney. That's progress.

For just as it matters little how many drug couriers you kill, it hardly matters how much heroin you intercept. Seize 100 tonnes instead of 100g and there'd be little more than a hiccup in the distribution system. The street price would rise and the warlords we've returned to power in Afghanistan would simply increase the poppy crop to protect their 80per cent world market share. Drug seizures are like dipping buckets in the ocean.

Australian Federal Police chief Mick Keelty's appalling contribution to the death penalty debate has been to talk of thousands of young Australians who'd have died had the Bali nine smuggled all that heroin into Australia. This is specious. Keelty should admit that, were heroin legally available to addicts, there'd be a hope of controlling quantity and quality. That would save lives. And if he were really worried about young Australians dying of drugs, we'd hear him attack what's responsible for more than 90per cent of drug-related deaths: grog and tobacco. Far more Australian lives are destroyed by petrol sniffing than heroin.

I despise drugs and, jazz notwithstanding, have little enthusiasm for the drug culture so enthusiastically marketed by everyone from those nice Beatles to the thugs of hip-hop. (Half the pop songs in the past 30 years have been advertising jingles for the drug de jour, from LSD to crack cocaine.) But equally I despise the hypocrisy of this war on drugs. Add the moral horror of the death penalty or the monstrous nonsense of an Australian girl arrested in Denpasar for possessing two ecstasy tablets and we're living in a world gone mad.

November 22, 2005
PHILLIP ADAMS, The Australian

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

From Mr Wang's Site

The following is a digest of the comments I originally posted on Mr Wang’s excellent soci-political commentary blog,

Mr Wang’s entry really set me thinking so I decided to participate in an online discussion with Mr Wang’s other readers. It has been a real eye opener, exchanging views with fellow Singaporeans and bloggers from all over the world. Please do read through all the comments posted there if you want to have a full picture and a balanced view of the issue.

(1) An overview of my stand

My proposition is for the abolishment of the mandatory death penalty and in its place, impose long jail terms, mandatory caning and discretionary fines (“strict penalties”) for the offence of drug trafficking.

(1)(a) Deterrence value of death penalty

As a form of personal deterrence to the drug courier, executing the drug courier is the ultimate and extreme form of personal deterrence. Imposing strict penalties should be sufficient to discourage the drug courier from future drug trafficking. The drug courier should be given an opportunity to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society. Someway along the way, everyone is bound to take a wrong turn in life. We all make mistakes. By killing the drug courier, we ignore his desperate plea for a second chance in life.

As a form of public deterrence, there are no figures supporting the added deterrence value of the death penalty. There is no proven greater deterrence value of the death penalty compared to strict penalties. I have tried to point out other important reasons why our streets have stayed relatively drug-free (See (2) Hypothesis on deterrence value of death penalty).

The onus is on supporters of the death penalty to prove that there is an added deterrence value to justify the killing of the drug courier.

(1)(b) Proportionate punishment

It may be argued that the death penalty somehow works better than strict penalties as a form of public deterrence.

However, I do not believe that this ‘intangible’ public deterrence value is sufficient justification for the taking away of human lives. As a moral retributivist, I look at the moral culpability of the offender. Drug traffickers are far removed from murderers in mental blame. Moreover, punishing the drug trafficker with death is disproportionate to the harm caused by drugs. Therefore, this intangible deterrence value of the death penalty should not override a person’s right to live. I do not subscribe to the utilitarian belief that a person’s life should be sacrificed for the greater good. The "ultimate punishment" should not be imposed lightly.
Someone said: "Well, the facts is that drugs do kill, just not in the same quick way as with guns or knives."
Some people seem to think that the punishment (death penalty) for drug trafficking is not disproportionate when compared to crimes like murder.

Well, smoking cigarettes kill too, just not in the quick way as with guns or knives. I'm not trivializing the harmful effects of drugs; the cigarettes comparison is an extreme but necessary extrapolation of your logical fallacy.

Status quo: Under the Misuse of Drugs Act, anyone caught in possession of more than 15 grams of heroin (amongst other drugs) is presumed guilty of being a drug trafficker and attracts a mandatory death sentence.

Is 15g of heroin comparable to the lethal and extremely grave consequences of an intentional crime committed with guns and knives (i.e murder)?

(2) Hypothesis on deterrence value of death penalty

Dear Singaporean (a blog commentator),

I fully agree with you on point (1) - Drugs are evil, highly addictive and destroys families.

I disagree with you on points (2) and (3).

Point (2)
There is scarce availability of drugs in Singapore. This must be a sign that the death penalty for drug trafficking is an effective deterrence. (I paraphrased you)
Of course, there is a deterrence effect to any punishment for drug trafficking. Strict penalties and swift enforcement would greatly deter drug trafficking. We should take a tough stand on drug trafficking. It is a horrible crime that must not go unpunished.

However, the rational question remains: Will imposing lengthy jail terms, harsh fines and more caning be equally effective (and more humane) as the death penalty in deterring drug trafficking?

At first glance, there is a simple co-relation between the scarce availability of drugs and the death penalty. However, there is no empirical evidence which proves that the death penalty DOES CAUSE a decrease in the availability of drugs. For example, the observation that dark clouds exist on rainy days: this observation is not helpful because we do not know if dark clouds do actually cause rain (See “Steven Levitt: Freakonomics: A Rouge Economist Explores The Hidden Side Of Everything” for a more eloquent explanation)

Therefore, the death penalty may not be the cause of scarce availability of drugs in SG. They could simply co-exist, analogous to the co-existence of dark clouds and rain. Could there be more direct causes?

  • a) Increased vigilance in customs inspection for drugs
  • b) Improved use of technology in drugs detection
  • c) Increased police manpower for Central Narcotics Bureau
  • d) Increased collaboration within ASEAN on sharing of information on drug syndicates
  • e) Stricter penalties against personal drugs consumption
  • f) Increased public education on dangers of drugs consumption
  • g) Improving social conditions in SG (conditions that encourage drug use)

I deliberately ignored the effect of ANY punishment for drug trafficking on the availability of drugs.

Factors (a) to (d) directly reduce the supply of drugs into SG. Factors (e) to (g) directly reduces demand for drugs, ergo, resulting in less supply of drugs because of fewer incentives for drug-rings to risk trafficking drugs into SG.

Despite the perceived effectiveness of our death penalty, I have tried to illustrate other factors that do cause a substantial reduction in the availability of drugs.

Point (3)
From the drug mule point of view, if the penalty is death, they can refuse to do the job even if someone point a gun at his head. There has to be some amount of stupidity for Nguyen (or his handlers) to needlessly choose Singapore as a transit point, or perhaps he was set up to be caught anyway.
Let us take the strongest case for the proposition that death penalty should be imposed for drug traffickers: Nguyen was caught smuggling drugs INTO SG and not using SG merely as a transit point.

What if Nguyen did not know of the death penalty before he embarked on his mission? Well, tough luck for him, since ignorance of our national laws is no excuse. But here, the effectiveness of the death penalty is highly suspect: how would the death penalty deter the unknowing and foolish Nguyen?

Ultimately, I do not believe that drug trafficking is a crime so morally reprehensible that every Nguyen deserves to die. The objective of promoting social, communal and Singaporean interests should not justify the taking away of Nguyen’s right to live.

(3) Wrong mentality?

There does not seem to be much disagreement that the death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment for drug trafficking, especially when viewed in the context of the crime committed.

Yet the same people who readily admit so are quick to arrive at their conclusion that the death penalty is justified on the basis of protecting our society. That somehow, the death penalty has worked to prevent drugs from entering SG. That somehow, drugs will start pouring into SG if we replace the death penalty with life imprisonment. They fear the impact that abolishing death penalty will have on the availability of drugs inside SG. They demand figures to prove otherwise in order for the status quo to change.

Why adopt the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality towards laws? If a law is flawed, we should fix it. Why this “better safe, than sorry” attitude to the issue of a human’s right to live?

Are we essentially being selfish when it comes to protecting our self-interests (i.e. I-would-never-be-in-Nyugen’s-situation). Are we pandering to our unfounded fears?

(4) Inconsistency?

I support the death penalty for murderers while opposing it for drug traffickers.

I do not believe in absolutes. One can support the death penalty for murderers and at the same time oppose the death penalty for drug traffickers. Drugs do not take lives as murderers do. Capital punishment for drug trafficking is way out of proportion with the crime committed.

Thus, although I believe that a murderer who fails to establish any legal defence (therefore kills without excuse) deserves the death penalty, it is not inconsistent for me to oppose the death penalty for drug trafficking, simply because there is no proportionality between the crime and the punishment.

Furthermore, it just feels (moral/ethical) wrong to hang someone for trafficking drugs. The drugs trade will exist as long as there is a demand for drugs. Shooting (killing) the messenger (trafficker) does not address the root cause of the drugs problem. There will always be folks desperate enough to be exploited by the drug lords, regardless of the harshness of the death penalty.

As a deterrence to would-be drug traffickers, I feel the death penalty fails miserably. I agree Singapore should adopt a firm stand on the drugs problem, but a mandatory death penalty for drug traffickers is an unduly harsh and cruel punishment.

On Capital Punishment

Essay: Capital Punishment For Drug Trafficking Offences

Part 1: Lack of open public discussion

It saddens me that there is a lack of open public discussion in Singapore on the use of capital punishment for drug trafficking offences (“Singapore’s drug law”).

The media coverage in Australia over the imminent execution of Nguyen Tuong Van, an Australian, is starkly contrasted with the deafening silence in Singapore’s media whenever a Singaporean is hanged for drug trafficking. Could this be a case of “familiarity breeds contempt”, seeing as 20-40 people (I stand to be corrected) are executed every year on average in Singapore? Are we so used to hearing drug traffickers being executed, that Singapore’s drug law has ceased to become an issue of larger national or society interest?

I’m convinced Singaporeans do care about Singapore’s drug law. The “Solidarity Vigil for Nguyen Tuong Van" organized by Think Centre and the Reach Out Campaign held on 7 November 2005 was attended by 130 people; a sizeable crowd considering past attendance records at similar events. Moreover, going by the passionate discussions taking place on various local online blogs, it is apparent that Singaporeans are deeply concerned with Singapore’s drug law. Why hasn’t the Singapore government or local media acknowledged differing views on Singapore’s drug law and initiate a public discussion?

What springs to mind is a recent speech by Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong at the 5th anniversary dinner of Today newspaper. I have quoted relevant parts of his speech concerning the role of Singapore’s media.

“…The media disseminates information, news, analyses and commentaries. It influences and shapes public opinion…

…They have a greater responsibility to society than merely publishing a sensational story, scooping the news or turning in a bigger profit for shareholders. There are larger national and societal interests at stake…

…I do not favour a subservient press. An unthinking press is not good for Singapore

…Opinions and analytical pieces on salient issues are important for giving readers varying perspectives.

…The media is free to put across a range of worthy different viewpoints to encourage constructive social and political discourse. It should not parrot the government’s position. It would lose its credibility if it tries to be the government’s propagandist. A discredited media would not serve our national interests….”

So far, our media has not published any carefully researched reports, interviewed any experts or government officials, conducted any public surveys, or written any balanced commentaries and analyses concerning Singapore’s drug law (I stand to be corrected). A few readers’ letters concerning Nyugen’s plight and Australia’s protest have been selectively published. However, these letters are usually not well researched (and understandably so) and do not focus on the broader issue of Singapore’s drug law. Compare the current media situation with the Singapore government initiated public discussion of the casino debate. The difference is glaringly obvious.

TO BE CONTINUED….Part 2: Singapore government’s position, Part 3: Opposing viewpoints, Part 4: Recommendations & Conclusion