Monday, 15 March 2010

Singapore’s netizens and the Internal Security Act

Warning: the text below may be considered objectionable by some. Please skip the post if you feel you may be offended.

Trash the religion of pigs [Islam] and go back to your root Pakistani - you would be better off. If you adopt this cult [Islam] in some form or the other this [terrorism] would be result - Its a matter of time. Think about the agony of torture, conversion, killing of Nonmuslims in your land. 'Dharma' and 'Karma' always prevails everywhere. This looks like your 'dharma' is the antithesis of other 'dharma'. Rathindra Ghosh
Hmm. perhaps we should give the muslims free strap on bombs that look powerful but will only blow up the wearer.. The way I see it, we'd know who the terrorists were within a few weeks.. Tyler Nelson
Islam is a magnet for the mentally unstable. John Sattefield
Apparently this whacko ['Jihad Jane' et. al.] is a masochist. Any woman who would subject themselves to a religion [Islam] that holds women as inferior to men, and in marriage, little more than slaves and sex objects has to be insane. Ron Cee
As soon as she converts to Islam, she thinks of terrorism. Must be something in Islam. Juhan Singha
Why would a western woman, educated, with a decent job, take up with a guy whose culture [Islam] oppresses women on a regular basis along with all the other negative aspects of this religion [Islam]? i have to assume she has some screwed up 'wiring' in her head. Bruce Benedon
Who knows if they [civilians killed by ISAF forces in Afghanistan] were really "civilians". Frankly, it doesn't matter. Rahul Sharma
NB - Sample quotations from comments on various articles by regular netizens at the Wall Street Journal community site. All comments are drawn from articles published within the last few weeks.

The Singapore Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts, Mr. Lui Tuck Yew recently praised Singapore's netizens for acting responsibly over a hoax blog posting concerning MM Lee.

Indeed, the Singapore blogosphere is tame relative to some international jurisdictions. Surely, Singapore's stringent racial harmony laws play a key role in 'moderating' language and subjects. However, that Singapore's print media is virtually fully controlled by the authorities means that debating in online forums often touches controversial subjects shunned by the mainstream media.
Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is a highly regarded international business daily. The WSJ is a gated website; much of the WSJ content is available only to paid online subscribers. Additionally, given the specialized business nature of the WSJ news content it is safe to assume that most readers are better informed than the average citizen.
However, that fact is difficult to believe if one enters a WSJ forum on a subject even remotely associated with Islam, terrorism, Afghanistan, Pakistan or Muslims. The sample quotations at the outset of this article are not outliers. Such comments are routine and anyone accessing a (relevant) article can experience the hatred directly.
Undoubtedly, terrorism is a scourge in today's world. And, yes, unfortunately much of the terrorism is inspired by extreme Muslim ideology. But to have one's religion and national identity insulted habitually without any intellectual basis is counterproductive.
It feeds the cycle of hatred and violence. It plays into the hands of the radical cleric enticing into jihad the unemployed Muslim engineering graduate surfing the net in Algiers or London.
It's easier to walk the path of detestation than tolerance. Belief systems predicated on hate produce quicker results and require limited intellectual energy.
The world is complicated. Killing all Muslims or constantly blaming and berating Islam is no panacea for the world's problems. The US unemployment rate will still be 10%, the deficit will not disappear and the US healthcare and Social Security systems will not become high quality!

Much has been written about the negative effect of anonymity among netizens. As such, there is little wrong with instilling the fear of God, or the law, among bloggers.
Freedom of expression has boundaries imposed by common sense. Singapore's freedom of expression environment may leave much to be desired. However, in some instances the interests of a paternal state and extreme devotees of the Gods of Freedom converge. Ensuring that the language of disrespectful hurt stays out of the system is such an instance.

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