13 Nov 2005

They execute film-makers in this country

Found this rather interesting article at Singapore Rebel. Lets play spot the differences and similarities of attitudes...

While Singapore has laws to fine and imprison their film-makers for making 'political' films, North Korea adopts a more hard-nosed approach in reining in renegade film-makers...

They execute film-makers in this country

"Do you really believe that we are equal to North Korea ? Oh, come on. We are not that daft. We know what is in our interest and we intend to preserve our interests and what we have is working. You are not going to tell us how to run our country"
- MM Lee Kuan Yew speaking to foreign journalists on Singapore's low ranking press freedom

"We consider that the United Nations has no right to discuss the Korean question nor has it any right to meddle in the domestic affairs of our country. The Korean question should not be discussed by foreigners in New York of Washington, it should be discussed in Pyongyang or Seoul by the Koreans themselves."
- Kim Il Sung, father of current North Korea President Kim Jong Il


Think Singaporean said...

No foreign entities nor institutions, such as media, are allowed to raise their viewpoints about us. They're deemed to have "no right to discuss......nor has it any right to meddle in the domestic affairs of our country." Then, can our own countrymen also be allowed to speak up openly too? Afraid we're not allowed too! Otherwise the opposition party would not be sued till bankrupt! Oh, come on. If no criticisms, then we're totally a PERFECT society, isn't it? However, NO ONE IS PERFECT! If MM Lee understands that there is a need for a change because the society is different now, then let's be more open to criticisms. Criticisms are not "bad or negative", it all depends on how we think.

An anology of a shirt - full of dirt and filth. We washed and washed and the dirt slowly and gradually came off and the whole shirt is cleaned and shiny. Just like Singapore's society. We're just a small country, full of complexity and problems initially. Then, through changes and improvements, we've transformed into a stable, clean and green city.

However, through much washing over a period of time, the shirt gets old and worn-out with some small holes here and there, though it is still white and clean. As we could not see these small holes, someone came to point out to us and we start to patch up the holes. Similarly, though the country is still functioning very well with all the policies in place, etc but there's still some flaws here and there, and we need someone to point out to us so that we could improve too.

Quote from Dhamapada, it says: "The mind is the forerunner of everything." If we view criticism as something "bad and negative", then our mind thinks it is as "bad and negative". But if we see it as something "constructive", then our mind thinks it as something "positive and favourable". So, isn't it "all in our mind"?

Well, in my opinion, to have an OPEN MIND is better than to have a CLOSE MIND! The Chinese proverb says, "Wor tau lau, xue tau lau". Literally, it means that as we grow older, we could learn and improve as much as we can.

Anonymous said...

yes, i do agree that it's best to keep an open mind. by accepting criticism, one in fact, may be able to cover loopholes in his own belief and strengthen it further. Without criticism, people may just come to believe an opinion as fact, without thinking twice about it. (paraphrased J.S Mill a little here...)

However, i feel this view does not really apply to the situation raised in this post - that MM Lee is in fact thinking similarly to a North Korean Dictator.

Firstly, Singaporeans (to some extent) have the freedom to discuss about freedom without being executed. Look at what we're doing now on this comment board. Students of political science in NUS are even invited to criticise policies. (whether that has any effect at all is another matter). the point is, we are allowed to discuss about it and there is no need to base our laws on that of another country cos, we can formulate our own.
North Korea on the other hand, as stated, executes film makers, dissenters, don't even have public access to internet, and i doubt anyone is allowed to criticise policies in the universities. how can they formulate their own laws in accordance to the public when they do not know what the public thinks?
I believe that no country has the right to command the way another country is ruled. if there really is absolute misery in that country, someday, a revolution would occur from the masses, it's just a matter of time. To judge another nation's state of well being according to our own values and system is just being ethnocentric (is that the word?).

i agree with the MM "You are not going to tell us how to run our country" To hell with the american way. Let's judge our own country to our own standards.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I feel like McDermott wanted to set up a blog on human rights, and picked the easiest country to talk about.

You could have chosen to "help" the countries in which people are actually dying and suffering, from an oppressive regime, but you didn't. And you make such fallacious conclusions.

LOL, what country will allow another to dictate its policies?

The day you actually find that we execute political film producers, you would be justified in saying that we resemble North Korea, but the need for a country to formulate specific policies to deal with its own issues is not specific to Singapore.

Why don't you dictate the way the French are dealing with their unrest? Expelling youths who have legitimate grouses and who have been marginalised tramplies upon human rights, yet no one is drawing parallels between France and some communist country.