02 June 2008
A US citizen is under arrest in Singapore for "insulting a public servant". This after comments he made about a judge "prostituting herself" on his blog. He then traveled to Singapore and taunted the local authorities online, including the location of his hotel and phone number. Singapore is one of those interesting locations which relies upon social conformity in the extreme and exhibits very conservative behavior. It is also essentially a city state that relies on the good graces of its neighbors to remain independent.
I wonder how this case will affect, if at all, international law? Does an individual have the right to free speech? Does a nation have a right to impose arbitrarily restrictive rules on individuals' expressions? We will see how open China has become during the forthcoming Olympic games. For all the hand wringing of multi-culturalists and moral relativists, there is little commentary on nation's or cultures which impose sanctions on classes of people. None of the left decries the lack of freedoms for women in Islamic cultures nor does the right spend enough time cataloging the abuses of repressive regimes like China and Burma (Myanmar).
I wonder if they are simply prostituting themselves to their own vested interests.
I think I'll stay away from Singapore for a few months.