09 November 2007

Too proud of our noose

Prof Michael Hor (NUS Law faculty) recently gave a talk, speaking out against the way Singapore uses the death penalty. Full essay.


Sillyporean said...

"But even then, the minister's reply is hardly comprehensive."

Would you be able to post his reply here? Thanks.

Teck Soon said...

This is an excellent essay. Thanks so much for your efforts to make Singapore a better place for all of us. Your essays do make a difference and do have an impact on everyone.

Anonymous said...

Eugenics by another name and tactic.

The end is still the same - get rid of the chaff, the scum, the dirt and eventually you get the pure stuff - but without the world any the wiser of what you are about.

On a related issue - the open arm welcome for FTs is to replenish, to enrich the gene pool. The mindset of 'indigenous', born and bred here Singaporeans were shaped by a set of propaganda beliefs and diet that is no longer effective, viable or possible to manipulate to a globalised world realities. therefore a shortcut (favourite ploy of the govt)is to import fresh from all over world, chiefly from China, India and the west. Smart, but hardly moral.

yuen said...

is Prof Hor doing this as part of his personal research, or as part of an international campaign?
Amnesty International Call to Action on Singapore

Singapore's ambassador to the United Nations -- who doubles as Singapore High Commissioner to Canada -- recently argued against UN moves that could edge the world closer to total abolition of the death penalty. We need to let him know that his arguments are totally unacceptable for the 21st century.

The European Union at the UN is proposing a moratorium on executions as a "compromise" move. If this resolution were accepted, it would strengthen our campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty in Singapore.

Amnesty International believes that, worldwide, Singapore has one of the highest rates of executions proportionate to its population...
in the international scene, large nations like China will need to be persuaded and it wont be easy

in Singapore, the outcome of this campaign is likely to be similar to the decrimilization of homosexuality: the government will prefer to placate majority conservatism, though some softening is possibleconservatism, though some softening is possible

onekell said...

It being during school and working hours may be one reason for lower than deserved attendance. I wanted to go.

tongue-in-chick said...

The basic tenet is that, the Singapore government, or should we say PAP, does not value basic rights to live as human beings. To be fair, this is relative to the moral grounds one believes/adopts/adheres to, and cannot be decided on logical grounds alone. So, in some sense, it is a matter of choice. So, the bigger question is, what kind of nation do we WANT Singapore to be? Do we want human rights to be paramount? The people in white do not seem to think that greatly of basic human rights, valuing nationhood above all else. Does the rest of the populace want that? IS it necessary for the people to punish "evil" crimes with death?
A even bigger question: are we at a stage of nationhood whereby 'practicality' (or rather, perceived practicality) above all else is paramount, or have we progressed to a stage whereby further, higher ideals, might serve as a better guide? Perhaps the ruling party has underestimated our rate of progress... Dare we evolve further into a higher plane of existence? We need to show them that we can.

Anonymous said...

When most of the developed nations had already abolished the death penalty, Spore stubbornly remains committed to it. In a globalized environment, Spore has already committing itself to future economic irrelevance. What does that mean?

377A, severe drug penalties, death penalties, caning - these are hardly the kind of stuff that foreign talents will want if they come here. If they can't be bother to come, then MNCs would not be interested to invest.

Our manufacturing growth phase has already long disappear since the 90's. Along with it, our port & cargo services, banking & finance, etc has been in steep decline since. The current global investment phase is looking at creative-based biz with an IT bent eg. Google, Youtube, Myspace, etc. Our Sporean conservative mindset + rigid, exam-based educational system cannot hope to do a "Google" type breakthrough. With Creative Technology already lost the MP3 gadget wars against the Apple iPod & Apple moving onto Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung & LG with the iPhone - what do we have next?

The PAP govt has patted themselves on the back for a supposedly good job on Spore & gave themselves a huge raise. But in reality, they are managing Spore into future oblivion. Not withstanding the stubborn adherence to the death penalty, 377A, etc. - the PAP govt's slowness to changing our educational system is befuddling - insufficient tertiary places for locals, rigid streaming, promoting obsolete elitist values in school, weak implementation of school IT, etc. Spore's future is getting bleaker!

Joe90 said...

Thank you for this insightful essay. The points you have brought up should give cause to every Singaporean to be deeply troubled about the state of the judicial system in our country. I am really appalled, shocked and ashamed at the blatant disregard for justice and human rights in my own country.

Anonymous said...

I simply don't understand how we justify and endorse a state-sponsored murder, and tell the world it have nothing to do with humanity.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know that our Ambassador sounded like a school debater in the UN. Didn't understand his exasperated, excited and defensive statements. He lost the debate at the end and sounded real sore.

Anonymous said...

The same unimaginative and long-discredited viewpoints trotted out to defend a very emotional point of view--that of the "horror" of the death penalty.
Any right-thinking and courageous person would find abolishing the death penalty horrific rather than the other way round.
Statistics indisputably show that the death penalty deters violent crime, and it is also obvious that it gives justice and closure to the vast majority of victims' friends and family. Not to say it also soothes the outrage of society against the horrible crimes committed aginst it.
People objecting to the death penalty simply lack moral courage, and quite sadly, are cowards.

Ned Stark said...


Tan Kiam Peng v PP is not about common intention. I think you may be referring to PP v Lim Poh Lye, where though the accused were acquitted at first instance they were eventually sentenced to death at the Court of Appeal. Tan Kiam Peng is about the burden of proof under the Misuse of Drugs Act. More specifically the reversal of burden of proof.

While i may not be a fan of the abolishment of the death penalty, i have recorded grave disquiet at the so called safeguards. The available safeguard is preciously little. I might come up with a more comprehensive write up in the future should permit.