Sunday, April 17, 2005

*In Defence of Cheng Zhan*

Mr Chua was my classmate for 2 years in Hwa Chong Humanz and I have known him since 2000. Over the course of the past 5 years, I have never heard him make any overt racist remarks or display any form of racist insensitivity beyond those normal to off the cuff remarks and no worse than anything you could conceivably hear (and I've heard worse in NS) unless you're in the midst of a bunch of humourless Politically Correct people.

But unfortunately he did a foolish thing. It seems that he posted some of these remarks on a PRIVATE BLOG trusting that his close friends would understand he meant no malice because that was not in his nature. Furthermore, he trusted that as a private blog, these comments were personal and not meant to incite any form of violence or racism. But it seems that there are people who would deliberate break into his blog and attempt to hack his account and steal his data with the intent of PROSECUTING HIM FOR THOUGHT CRIMES.

As far as I'm aware, he has not committed any crime beyond that of carelessness. As far as I'm aware the Penal Code does not prosecute for thought crimes (even that odd bit about thinking ill about the President would probably require some form of action). However, the people behind this attack are guilty under the Computer Misuse Act. Perhaps that is why the lady who sent the information is now unwilling to speak up.

Whoever you are, if you are 'brave' enough to do it, please be brave enough to suffer the consequence.

Even if he has done wrong, allow me to point out a few people and organisations that have done much much worse. The ST Forum has published the letters of a number of homophobic people and organisations with the intent of spreading hatred towards these homosexuals. I would strongly urge that if a witchhunt is going to be launched, do not apply any double standards and go after them as well.

Particularly Focus on the Family and their homophobic supporters.

12 Comments:

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two ways to get into CZ's blog. One: go directly to the blog's URL (rather than his home domain). No password in sight. Two--from this very blog (before CZ's site was taken down): got to cherf's blog (from the blogroll), no password in sight. Go to cherf's roll and click on "cz"--takes you directly to CZ's blog. No password in sight. Please, no one "hacked" into his blog because there was nothing to hack.

 
At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are two ways to get into CZ's blog. One: go directly to the blog's URL (rather than his home domain). No password in sight. Two--from this very blog (before CZ's site was taken down): got to cherf's blog (from the blogroll), no password in sight. Go to cherf's roll and click on "cz"--takes you directly to CZ's blog. No password in sight. Please, no one "hacked" into his blog because there was nothing to hack.

 
At 10:35 PM, Blogger The Legal Janitor said...

I highlighted the extracted paragraphs on my blog early on (although I have removed them now), but I'm not sure whether I was the first.

I would like to say here what I said on my blog, once it became apparent that people were lining up to lynch him.


Calling for his head, or asking for his scholarship to be revoked, serves no purpose. If he is truly racist, doing those things would not change his views. What it would do however, is to make him hide those views.

From a broader perspective, making an example of him would also do nothing to change society in general. Racists will always be racists, and find reasons to be racists. Only they themselves can change their minds, not us.

So when I called out for vigilance, what was my intention?

I maintain his right to be a racist. If he thinks racist thoughts, or says racist things to himself or his friends, that is his right. But what we have to be watchful about is if his racist thoughts impacts the way he acts if and when he should ever attain public office.

That is, in essence, the point. We should not seek to punish him for his thoughts: that would be cruel and inhumane. But we should be vigilant, such that if he ever acts on his racist thoughts and puts them into action by wielding the power of a public official, THEN we have every right to call for his head.


Where I agree with you that thoughts are not crime, I disagree with you that the fact that others may exhibit worse sorts of prejudice is some sort of defence.

On my blog, I have always staunchly defended the right of homosexuals to live their lives the way they want to, and against the sort of discrimination that they face.

The fact is that all forms of prejudice should be argued against, whether it be racial prejudice or sexual-preference prejudice.

 
At 10:43 PM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

I'm not claiming it as a defence but demonstrating that the fact so many people are out to lynch him seemingly because he's a PSC scholar is incongruous with the many other forms discrimination that exist. All I'm asking for is the lack of a double standard. If you (the other bloggers) want to go after CZ, please do the same for Focus on the Family and the other forum writers

 
At 10:45 PM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

On a separate issue. The mere fact that it is possible to enter his blog without a password is only material to demonstrate his carelessness.

Was he attempting to incite any form of racial hatred? No. was he making what was perhaps insensitive and hurtful comments? Yes. Should he get lynched for this? NO!

And I would like to thank Shianux for what he did. Thank you, it was very decent.

 
At 10:59 PM, Blogger The Legal Janitor said...

I would like to add that 'Han' is me, and that my blog is

shianux.jiyuuu.org

in case you did not know where to find the original post and my position on this issue.

 
At 10:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That guy's a retard, to post those recists comments on his blog and then retract it by saying "I don’t use my own persona when I write on my blog.". He must be shitting his pants over his scholarship. Either way, his CS career path is tainted. Moron!

 
At 1:36 AM, Anonymous Allan said...

To anonymous:

I don't think saying "I don't use my own persona when I write on my blog" necessarily makes someone a retard. To a certain extent, don't we all take on different identities on the Internet? You, for example, remain anonymous. In a way that's the allure of the Internet in the first place, to be someone else, to allow yourself to give expression to thoughts you might not normally say in your normal life, or to make your opinion heard without people ever knowing who you are.

That being said, I'm not saying his comments were unfoolish. Certainly, everyone would have been better off if he hadn't published words which seem extremely damning when taken out of context in a public domain. Nonetheless, he did it on his own website, and not in any public forum. He is free to express whatever he likes on his own property.

Chengzhan is a lovely person who is fortunate enough not to need a scholarship, so I highly doubt he is "shitting his pants over his scholarship". I believe he took the scholarship out of a genuine desire to contribute to Singapore - and if you knew him, it wouldn't be hard to see why. Upon seeing the offence his comments have created he has taken down his website and issued a apology to all involved. I hardly think that those are the actions of a 'retard' or a 'moron'.

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Hi Allan!

 
At 9:11 PM, Anonymous Allan said...

Hey Shaun! =)

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, random blogger here. I hav'nt really read the entry, but if you can pls pass on the message to him that i feel really sorry for him...as in truly.It's true that perhaps he lacked hindsight...we cannot condone what was done..but there really is no need to condemn him for life..I hope he is doing ok..

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Yeah sure thanks again by the way.

 

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