Positive Censorship

The weapon of anonymity is the reason for people’s lack of sense of responsibility towards their words online. Once put online, it is hard to remove it and pretend it never happened. Like a drop of water dropped into the sea, it can never be retrieved in its original form.

Like this for example:


Obviously we know that there has been a lot of editing work going on here.

Or this that explains the frames cropped out (image clipped from a FB page):


Social media is no longer confined to liking and commenting on posts. It has evolved to include sharing posts. Messages now have the potential to spread further than before, which may have its pros and cons. Remember the haze of not too long ago? In those smoggy days, we saw people spreading false allegations, saying that NEA fabricated PSI readings, claiming that the Government was holding back masks etc.

Perhaps cliché, but with great power comes great responsibility. It was disheartening to see Singaporeans spreading messages that could potentially cause chaos during a time of emergency. Where is our sense of responsibility?

Indeed, strike while the iron is hot, use the time to score political points, but why?

I believe having an overly liberal society without proper regulation is dangerous.

Every thought is like a seed. When planted in the mind, one can choose whether or not to water and nurture it. When divisive sentiments start spreading rampantly across the internet, the damage would have been irreversible. Imagine the social discourse within our society.

Aren’t we inviting ‘social terrorists’ into our midst if we were to have an unregulated freedom of speech on the internet? They may not directly cause violence or deaths in our society, but give that seed time to mature, and these divisive sentiments will explode in our faces. We once vowed never to return to the times of racial riots. I’m not sure that will be possible if Singapore has an unregulated freedom of speech, and we allow society to become polarized on sensitive issues.

It is easy to divide, but difficult to unite a society. By introducing an unregulated freedom of speech, we are simultaneously disempowering ourselves from protecting the social fabric we have worked so hard to build and dividing our society.

Our legislation and policies reflect the values of our society. Strict non tolerance towards violence and actions or speech that could harm the social fabric of our country are reflected in our policies. I think it has served us well, and I hope that will not change.

No, I am not against the idea of the freedom of speech. I just feel that in order for freedom of speech to not adversely affect our society, Singaporeans need to be able to choose wisely which seeds they want to nurture. Wrong choices could lead to divisions in our society and mass social discord, which would be extremely detrimental to Singapore, being built on the rock of harmony.

Just like how a domesticated cat that has been kept in the house for far too long is unable to survive in the wild, we may not be able to survive if we were to be suddenly thrown into the jungle of thoughts and ideas. If there is to be a transition, it has to be gradual and not a giant leap of faith overnight.

Singaporeans claim to have little or no freedom to air their views as seen by the #freemyinternet protest at Hong Lim earlier when the new MDA guidelines were released (which were quite misunderstood). Were they not aware of the many public feedback channels available both on and offline?

Read this very hateful, very poorly thought, very poorly typed rant that unabashedly curses the Mr. Lee (KY) to the death : http://therealsingapore.com/content/open-letter-lee-kuan-yew-perspectives-20-year-old 

Is there no freedom of speech?

I am upset with the slew of toxic material on the internet and contrary to voices on these “alternative media”, I’d like to suggest that some good censorship may not be a bad thing.

I’ll end off abruptly with this quote:

“My own experience has led me to conclude that Singaporeans sometimes overplay the ‘fear factor’. More often than not, it is not a question of which and what issues can be raised for public debate, but a matter of how and when to do so. Provided a criticism is honestly made and backed by convictions, I doubt very much that the sky will come tumbling down on the commentator. “

-Warren Fernandez





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