24 November 2008

Conversation stoppers

In Malaysia, islamists warn off critics of the recent fatwa against "tomboys". In Singapore our government zealously files contempt of court charges against the Wall Street Journal Asia and three activists, in separate cases. Strange bedfellows? Full essay.


Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, could you cite instances of ececutive interference in the judiciary of India?

Alan Wong said...

It's kind of silly to prosecute someone for wearing a T-shirt ?

So what even if there is a kangaroon on the T-shirt, why should our Singapore courts take it that the Kangaroo court is referring to the Singapore courts unless that's the truth. And they say the truth hurts.

Either it shows some of these people have no brains or they are just a**lickers.

Ned Stark said...

This idea of shutting up all opposition is a relatively modern concept and not found in the Ancient Muslim world. In fact, "diversity" was the norm among the Islamic states during the Middle ages. Muslim jurists (mufti) were entitled to issue fatwas and there was room for disagreement. Therefore if such a scenario was played out in the past, then it was possible for a party to seek advice of a mufti who could issue a different fatwa.

yuen said...

> idea of shutting up all opposition is a relatively modern concept

in many traditional political systems the idea of an opposition does not even exist; once you adopt the idea of choosing the government by having an election, then you need multiple parties from which people can choose; logically it follows that each party is at least potentially good enough to form the government, and the different parties are all led by "good" people qualified to form the next government; this conflicts with the "Confucian" idea that the government should include the best educated and most capable individuals of a country, meaning that the government party is much superior to the opposition

the dilemma is resolved in the west by saying that there are different political ideologies, and an individual would only join a government whose ideology he/she agrees with; hence, each party has its share of capable people; in contrast, the Singapore government
system, including the government linked companies, tries to absorb all the capable individuals, with political ideology given little thought by either the "head hunters" or the individuals

Ned Stark said...


Sorry for not making myself clear. I was making a comparison with Islamic society now and Islamic society then. The point is that diversity was more prevalent in the past.

Anonymous said...

My reading of the choice of Walter Woon as attorney general seems to be based more on his strong pro-government political views, rather than his competence. An instance to cite about his incompetence is that when he said that the foreign publication was making malicious attacks on the judiciary, instead of sticking to legalistic arguments, he made a political statement by comparing the foreign publication to the self-regulatory practice of the local press which he gave a favourable evaluation. Now, what has the practice adopted by the local press has to do with the relevance of the case. His arguments are heavily influenced by his political opinions and he shows little ability to separate between the two.