04 June 2008

Attorney-General says "human rights now a religion" with fanatics

Singapore's Attorney-General disses attempts to use the courts as a route to determining questions of human rights, calling those dissenters who draw attention to human rights abuses hypocrites and fanatics. Also suggests that it's absurd to consider same-sex marriage a human rights issue. Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Hello Alex I have a question and a comment:

You showed how hard it is with surveys especially on such touchy issues as gay marriage, and you show how much it depends in which context the question is posed.. but one thing that irriates me since I am in Singapore is that here, we seem to have absolutely no proper surveys! I am from Europe, and although we might overdo it sometimes, at least there are several credible survey institutes which do regular work and are constantly cited. As far as you example is concerned, how would SIngaporeans vote? I am not a all sure. And I often discuss this with friends, my feeling wuld be that most Singaporeans - including all the supposed "conservatives heartlanders" - dont really mind any of this, so they might be not against it really depending what exact question you would frame. DO you agree with this, and do you know why there are absolutley no credible surveys done on any issue (economical or political or social) in our small conected country?

Truthfully, I would be more interested in other kind of surveys, and also I can guess then why we dont have them...

Sencond - be careful with your last line of words... you might end up in a police station in a cell next to an American lawyer...

Cheers ExExpat

Aidil Omar said...

An excellent perspective. It is always very disconcerting to see how the mainstream conservative views are always trumpeted in the mouthpieces without letup.

I am glad that you have countered this most amicably.

Anonymous said...

Ms Contance Singam has written in.

forum link

Robert L said...

Quote: "you might end up in a police station in a cell next to an American lawyer..."

Dear YB - no need to worry about that. Gopalan was charged with sending emails containing insults, so if you do not send emails of your articles to AG, then they can't arrest you.

In fact, now there's doubt that they can make that charge stick, cos Gopalan is claiming that he didn't send the emails.

Whoever sent those emails should be the ones to worry, since they are the ones committing the offense.

I'm not making this post out of flippancy. There's a serious intent. Singapore bloggers have enough to fear about, they should not add to their fear when there's nothing there except what is distorted by the media.

Xil said...

i think it is fair to link the debate of gay rights with human rights, why should the two be separable? a guarantee of human rights is a guarantee of limited freedoms, and most certainly the freedom to determine what will constitute human rights. human rights will invariably progress with society to include or exclude certain rights, and this can only be possible with constant exploration of the subject.

also, to link this exploration of the constitution of human rights to extremism and/or fanatic behavior is subtly asserting that all behavior contrary to the prescribed norms what they may be or even the act of questioning and understanding them is fanatic. hence, traditional institutions such as universities, think-tanks and academics have to limit their logical exploration of legal standards.

in the same breath which says it would be 'hypocrisy' for a group of people to decide what is acceptable for society, it is also hypocrisy for the powers that be to decide what is acceptable for society, without first having allow society to understand, explore and define what these accepted values be.

law and politics should not be mentioned in the same breath, less we encourage citizenry to deduce that they are inextricably linked and inseparable. politics should not have wayward influences into legal processes or outcomes, and politicians who have the mandate of the people should be exempted from personally being involved in lawsuits as a plaintiff or a defendant unless an independent organ of state finds them worthy of being summoned to court based on overwhelmingly compelling reasons. this independent organ of state is assumed to be free of influence from all three branches of government, and guaranteed by constitution with its internal processes under parliament.

to deduce a logical person who fits in the AG's criteria as quoted, Martin Luther King Jr. would fit in perfectly. He was championing for 'black rights', racial equality and harmony. he had no political ambition, and hankered neither for wealth nor fame. he was simply a man not unlike you and i, saying what everyone other black man had on his mind.

it is in my opinion that the Attorney General in his official capacity, refrain from commenting about the political climate in Singapore, and focus on his duties as in the constitution of Singapore. if a line has been clearly been breached, it is the mandate of the police force to detain and charge accordingly. the reactions from the executive, judiciary and legislative raise interesting debate amongst the citizenry about the validity of the comments made from all parties.