“Congratulations! Let’s see the ring!”
It was neither an uncommon demand nor a surprising one; in a culture where engagement announcements are often accompanied by the sight of a rather large shiny rock on the woman’s finger, it was only natural that people would want to check out the bling.
But I didn’t have one. I still don’t.
“…we have taken the view that if you are a civic organisation, whether you are an organisation like AMP or whatever, if you want to get yourself involved politically, please get into the political arena and not hide behind a religious group, a tuition class, or a theatre troupe.”
- Former Information and the Arts Minister George Yeo, 1999
It was a Saturday special feature in The Straits Times. The title: ‘When activists cross line’. But what line has been crossed?
Read on and you’ll find that the line is a familiar ol’ OB marker: Politics.
The article sings a pretty common refrain. Once again the government warns against the dangers of civil society straying into ‘political’ areas, fearing that civil society organisations and groups will be hijacked to score political points. It reiterates former minister George Yeo’s comment: if you want to be politically involved in Singapore, then you have to enter the political arena.
But is that really true?
Last weekend Singapore’s police arrested Leslie Chew, the cartoonist behind the comic series Demon-cratic Singapore. Held for alleged sedition, he spent nights in lock-up and was questioned over two days before being released on Sunday morning after posting bail of S$10,000. His mobile phone, computer and hard drive have been confiscated, and his passport surrendered.
Chew has produced more than 600 cartoons of what he claims is a 100% fictional country called Demon-cratic Singapore. His Facebook page has over 19,000 followers, and his cartoons can occasionally be found on blogs and aggregate websites, but one can’t exactly claim that his work is wildly popular or even that well-known.
Until now, that is.
Last weekend Singapore’s police arrested Leslie Chew, the cartoonist behind the comic series Demon-cratic Singapore. Held for alleged sedition, he spent nights in lock-up and was questioned over two days before...
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