12 July 2008

Where's the line between serving the state and serving the party?

Attorney-General Walter Woon's difficulties in explaining away his remark about human rights 'fanatics' shows how compromised one can be when serving the state, in a case where one political party so dominates it. Full essay.


yuen said...

I dont think there is any argument about the need for limits on citizens' rights, whether constitutionally defined like freedom speech and assembly, or broader and vaguer "human rights" advocated by international groups; the issue is how and by whom these limits are defined; while certain limits are obvious (a well know example - freedom of speech does not mean you can shout "fire" in a crowded theatre just because you feel like it), others raise issues of value (e.g., mocking religious figures) and unintended consequences (e.g., the system of applying for police permit for demonstration is intended for public order, but has the consequence of making political activities harder to organize)

I also dont think Walter Woon, in defending restrictions on rights, was serving the "party" - he was in fact serving the "state", arguing against international interference, thus defending the power of the people who make decisions for the singapore state; PAP organization itself is largely an electioneering machinery - I am not aware of the party making any recent decisions regarding citizens' rights and limits on them

Anonymous said...

Very good analysis mr bread!

Woon's attempt to explain some more only make him sink deeper into the quick sand. Or maybe he is just revealing his true colours. The great length the local media goes into about Woon's "independence" is already a give away hahaha!

recruit ong

Anonymous said...

Mr Woon convieniently forgot to mention that Theo van Gogh got murdered for making that movie. And what was so vulgar about it? From wikipedia, "In the film, women's naked bodies are veiled with semi-transparent shrouds as they kneel in prayer, telling their stories as if they are speaking to Allah." Their bodies are covered with Arabic text from the Quran. And before you shout exploitation, it was all well in context. The verses on their bodies were deemed unfavourable to women by the writer of the script, Ayaan Hirsi Ali. This is a woman who obviously knows what she is talking about, coming to the Netherlands as a refugee from Somali. This is a woman who lived in a Islamic community which had such a tight hold over the adherents that she was genitally mutilated, by way of practice. (It's regular in their culture.) The fact that something like this can be so casual, so unquestioned, should chill your bones. And it should make you think about who the film was intended for, for what purpose - certainly not exploitation. And certainly not offense.

- Saint Splattergut

johnnylikesdemocracy said...

dear Alex,
This has got to be one of your best counter-arguments posted on your website on the falsehoods perpetrated by the authorities.

I have to commend you on your systematic approach, due diligence and excellent disection of the A-G's points made during his interview with Lydia Lim.

You were able to articulate the slant often adopted by the civil service to suit their need and the expense of our society's advancement.

Thanks again.