Tuesday, September 13, 2005

*Update and Addendums*

Had a very vigourous discussion/debate with a number of friends of mine today with regards to the entire incident behind the use of the Sedition Act (Cap. 290, Sing. Rev. Ed. 1985) of whom one thoroughly disagrees with the position that I have taken on the following basis:

1. Singapore society is fragile and has certain rifts along the lines of race and religion

2. Being insensitive to the feelings of some religions is a bad thing.

3. Like race, religion makes up a big part of the psyche of a person and insults towards those should dealt with

4. Such insults have a greater propensity than not to create harm to the fabric of society.

5. Such harm as well as the desire to deter others from commiting such an offence as well as the desire to send a strong message out that we would not condone such a form of action should be sent out.

I respect that point of view though I think it's terribly hard to prove quite a bit of it. I've made my opinions and arguments pretty clear here and here. But in addition to that, I worry about the ability to make (legitimate) criticisms about what I see are weaknesses in theism or certain aspects of Sharia (Islamic Law) e.g. evidenciary requirement of 4 male witnesses to a rape etc. Or even more basically, the fact that religion, unlike race is a choice and should not be subjected to the prima facie protection of hate speech. For a choice requires thought and the capacity to defend.

Anyway, putting that all aside, assuming that we are indeed concerned about hate speech and that we wish to avert possible har,, why should we not extend the Sedition Act to issues of sexuality? Even if one considers it a choice (and the consensus is building around it being innate), it ought to be viewed in the same manner as religion. The stuff that is written in many a right-wing fundamentalist groups (Focus on the Family anyone?) and those homophobes who write into the ST calling them abominations. Why shouldn't they be subjected to the law as well?

I don't agree with the law per se, because I think Singaporeans have moved pass the 1960s and the bugbear of racial riots should finally be put to rest. But if it need be used, I would that it be used judiciously and equitably. Let's stop with the double standards. Or are we simply waiting for some homosexual to be badly hurt before society's conscience is moved?




At 12:09 PM, Blogger gambitch said...

Or are we simply waiting for some homosexual to be badly hurt before society's conscience is moved?

You should really change that line to read: "Or are we simply waiting for the media to report some homosexual to be badly hurt..."

Otherwise society would never know.


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