Affairs

Death Penalty Book Banned In Singapore

Once A Jolly Hangman
credit: yawning bread

If you’re looking for a little insight on the archaic death penalty still in use in Singapore, and how the judicial system wields this weapon to maintain law and order in Singapore, you can probably find some insights in Alan Shadrake’s new book, Once A Jolly Hangman. The flipside is, you won’t be able to find it in your local bookstore, because it’s been banned.

In the Information age of the Internet, there are many ways to bypass local censorship laws that would seek to control its populace by making certain reading material, unavailable. Yet, the act of censorship takes away a certain liberty we have as a populace, to think for ourselves. And if we’re not allowed to think for ourselves, how are we going to maintain a fair democracy that’s based on making balanced, rationale decisions?

I’m not too sure why the book got banned, but I can only guess that the content was rather seditious, and sedition is such a blanket term for anything that calls into question what the government has done. And according to Yawning Bread’s review of the book, Shadrake calls into question many discrepancies with regards to how the death penalty has been metted out.

Glaring at the reader, is the alleged trend that people in a position of wealth, power and influence, can seemingly bend the law to their will and get out of legal loopholes that would otherwise have doomed them to the gallows. What could possibly be seditious or slanderous, are these accusations, that point fingers are various public figures who see themselves as above the law.

If true, you don’t need a degree in philosophy to recognise the moral hypocrisy seen in this form of control. Whatever the case, our government has once again made the decision for us, and we are not encouraged to read this book. Hell, they’ve gone one step further and said that it would be illegal to purchase or own this book.

And because investigative journalism is so controlled in this country, people cannot intelligently decide for themselves, what is fact and what is fiction, and our sham democracy continues to exist in the subjugated ignorance of our populace.

It’s just one book, I don’t even know whether the claims made in the book have been properly referenced or how biased it is. But a government with nothing to hide should not be hiding behind a veil of censorship, distancing itself from the questions people are asking. You put the constant fear of the future in our lives, ration our choices to make it glaringly obvious that unless we are willing to sacrifice our material comforts for the greater societal good, we should just shuffle along, because there ain’t nothing to see here.

If you sow the wind, be prepared to reap the whirlwind.

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Culture

Save A Music Blog, Save The Pop Cop!

The Pop Cop

Some of you may know that I contribute to a music blog, Waking Up To, and on top of that, we make monthly contributions to the Music Alliance Pact, a collective of 35 different blogs from 35 different countries that features their own local talent to an international readership. Now, this great initiative would not have been possible if not by the blog that started and curates this ongoing series, The Pop Cop.

At this moment, Jason from the Pop Cop has had his blog shut down by Google without prior warning that they were pulling the plug. It’s always a risk we music blogs face whenever we put up music. To our defence, our intentions are never about piracy, just sharing what we enjoy. Joy is best when shared isn’t it? Usually, only one track from an album goes up, and if some tight-arsed label executive insists that we take a track down, we usually comply. We provide links on how readers can purchase the artist’s music.. an c’mon, you’re talking about die hard fans of music, we spend way too much time listening to it.. great move not recognising a good thing when you see it.

Anyway, it happens that Jason’s blog got pulled the plug because the blog violated Google’s Terms of Service, because some of his posts were constantly being flagged by the system even after he complied. This is ridiculous because it’s a stupid issue of “Computer says no.” I like Google products, but this is silly because the system messed up, and took down a perfectly legit blog that complied to the terms of service. You can read about it at the Music Alliance Pact blog.

For me, this is a fight worth fighting. Independent music blogs have always been a great source of recommendations to alternative music to the mainstream music machine. It betters lives by revealing layers within layers into the many subcultures of music. It supports local talent when no one else would. We are doing a good thing, and by George, we’ll fight if have to. Because you can’t tell us what we can or cannot listen to!

Write to Google – support@blogger.com – and demand that The Pop Cop blog gets reinstated so Jason can at least get three years of his life back and move the content elsewhere. We don’t want to take away The Pop Cop’s contribution to the wonderful community of music lovers, and the good things he’s done for fans and artists alike!

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