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.