“If you are a troublemaker… It’s our job to politically destroy you… Everybody knows that in my bag I have a hatchet, and a very sharp one. You take me on, I take my hatchet, we meet in the cul-de-sac.”
Politics is not one-sided. Commitment and effort must be mutual between the governing bodies and its citizens. As the government, we have a duty to our people, by promising policies that help to, strengthen the country’s stability, economically, socially and politically, as well as providing them with a better standard of living, in terms of healthcare, education, sanitation and transport. As the people, we too, have a duty to democratically vote for who we think (and believe) possess the charisma, the intellect and the rigour to lead us.
Yet, every now and then, we hear of cries of complains from the average Tans and the Ahmads, that we’ve been mistreated, misappropriated of our due diligence. And more often than not, we stumble upon angry, unjust posts on social media that seems to describe the brutal and unrelenting government in terms of upholding censorship, restricted freedom of speech (how ironic), and generally dissuade dissenting mindsets and individuals. Sure, as we grow older and smarter, we attempt to put our world into perspectives, compare it to the dystopian fictions of Orwell and Huxley, and sometimes blindly believing that the authorities we have above us are stifling our individuality, our sense of self. Minus the exaggeration, is there really a problem with that? Are the governing authorities wrong for doing what they are doing?
Of course not! While I do believe that the privacy and the individuality of us, the citizens, should be maintained and remain free as per the status quo, a certain level of enforcement is definitely imperative to maintain social and economic stability in this small nation of ours. I’m not talking about mass, unregulated government surveillance and ceaseless political oppression, don’t get me wrong. I’m not ready to accept an Orwellian nightmare. What I’m trying to say is: Is there, in actuality, anything wrong with controlled censorship? Is it truly a sham, for our governing authorities to approve of the censorship laws that we already have? Are our views and perspectives considered too dissentive to be remarked as constructive criticism?
Censorship is “the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.” In short, it’s basically the government’s approach to prevent materials that may cause instability and uncertainty to our country’s well-being. Are they wrong for doing it? Ultimately, we still reside and live in a generally democratic society, we have options to where we want to house ourselves, educate ourselves, and more importantly, there are private sectors for us to venture out to, should we feel stifled by government organisations. Censorship is a form of protectionism. By preventing certain information to promulgate on social media and not let it spread like wildfire without any form of resistance. Furthermore, by not taking action against remarks that might spark unrest, the government is actually condoning it. But of course, some comments and posts are generally too cancerous to be displayed bare on the wild life of the internet. Comments that encourage political unrest, the undermining of national security and racial insurgency are definitely considered high-level dissention, and the government will not let that go.
In the end, we might find that they are restrictive and that these rules and laws are suffocating our individuality – our sense of self and more importantly, our rights. But would you rather, everyone given the privilege of speaking up, whatever they want, without cause and consequence, and allow it to generate into a growing emotional balloon of hate and bigotry, eventually snowballing it into something greater than what the government could bear to handle? I’m pretty sure the government doesn’t want to spend it’s time and resources to fix the petty collateral damage caused by your nonsense. We all have the right to speak up and say what’s on our mind. How we say it, and who we direct it to, lies in ourselves to be cautious and sensitive to those around us – especially in the case for Singapore, where it’s multi-cultural and multi-racial. No one in the right mind, with decent levels of IQ and EQ, will want to create something they cannot stop. Unless you’re born for such chaos, I’d recommend that we do our part by keeping our bigotry and insensitive remarks where they belong: the trash.