1 Apr 2006

The Singapore solution

Why does every right-wing fascist just love the image of Singapore? Dr Gifford Jones should stick to medicine because as soon as has he veers off topic he turns into a monster raving idiot. Poorly researched rant follows...

The Singapore solution
By DR. GIFFORD JONES, TORONTO SUN


This week I'm mad as hell. My 102 year old aunt-in-law, a Yankee of independent spirit, lives alone in her own house and has been robbed. The scoundrel stole $200 from her petty cash box and then grabbed her bottle of Irish Cream Sherry as well.

Now she's anxious, has to lock her door, making it harder for friends and neighbours to drop by and check on her.

Recently another elderly Vancouver woman was robbed and injured, in a similar way.

She cried, "He's a low down beast and he needs the lash."

Her advice reminded me of a visit to Singapore several years ago. I went to Singapore tired of hearing from bleeding hearts that punishment does not deter crime.

Before landing in Singapore I was handed a card in the airplane that read, "Welcome to Singapore." Printed below in bright red letters was the warning "Death for drug traffickers under Singapore law." No "if-ands-or-buts" about this welcome.

I then spent several days researching Singapore's laws and its crime rate.

In the 1970s Singapore had a serious problem. The use of heroin was spreading to young people.

Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew decided to nip the trend in the bud.

He introduced the death penalty for major drug traffickers and some offences were also punishable by "caning."

FLOODED WITH POLICE

The government realized that nothing would work if drugs were easily available. So black market areas of drug abuse were flooded with police 24 hours a day for up to nine months (cities in Canada take note).

Addicts were sent to treatment centres, major drug dealers were hung and small pushers imprisoned.

Criminals quickly realized that not only were these new laws harsh, but also police intended to carry them out. Moreover, caning made a distinct impression on their backsides and their heads.

Many in North America consider this type of punishment brutal, a return to the dark ages. But officials told me that only 5% of criminals became repeat offenders after meeting the cane (officials and do-gooders take note).

Singapore also has strict gun control laws. Anyone who possesses a firearm to commit a crime is liable to life imprisonment.

As a result there are few bank robberies in Singapore (there were 146 in Toronto in 2004).

I can already hear readers complaining that my job is to write about medicine, not crime. But anxiety and depression come in a variety of packages. And my wife's elderly aunt now lives with anxiety that is just as real as patients worrying about a stomach ulcer.

Singapore officials stated that North Americans have become "irresponsibly permissive." How true!

And this attitude starts early. Consider how we allow students, hardly out of diapers, to rule the classroom, insisting they have their "rights," but ignoring any responsibility (school boards take note).

NAMBY-PAMBY

This namby-pamby permissiveness results in drug trafficking, addiction and finally murder when punishment is soft, delayed or even nil.

Idiocy today knows no bounds. One of my patients who works in a Toronto hostel for women told me that hundreds of dollars in government welfare cheques arrive there each month.

But as soon as the money arrives many of these women are out on the street using it to buy crack cocaine! And it's these women who often give birth to brain damaged children that are disabled for life.

Bernard Shaw was right when he wrote, "When extraterrestrial beings land on earth they will instantly declare it a lunatic asylum."

So my congratulations to 89-year old Mary Campbell in Vancouver.

But it shouldn't be left to a senior citizen to suggest caning is what her attacker needs, if he's ever caught, not more social workers to tend his psyche or a comfortable jail cell. I believe my wife's 102-year old aunt would also favour a good thrashing.

After all, it's annoying enough to lose your pocket money. But when an evil villain has the audacity to abscond with your Bailey's Irish Cream Sherry he should hang by the thumbs in the city square.




20 comments:

Anonymous said...

another musolini made trains run on time thing; understanble though

Matilah_Singapura said...

My dear Dr Jones,

As a doctor, I'm sure you deal with life and death alot. I'm sure you've seen people make choices - like using alcohol, drugs and tobacco - which have deleterious long term effects on their individual lives. After reading your post, it is obvious to me that you missed an important point, which I'll pose as a question:

Who owns an individual's life? Himself or the state, in this case Lee Kuan Yew - who incidentally used to be a heavy smoker. When he quit, he made it his business to get everyone else to quit too.

If a person wants to get high all the time, drink excessively and chain smoke - who is he harming physically? And please, stop the crap about second hand smoke - as far as I'm concerned, the jury's still out on that one.

There are gun crimes in Singapore. Recently, there was an execution-style murder. Funny you should bring that up - Canada has about the highest rate of gun ownership in the world, yet I never hear of people running around shooting each other. I am of the belief: " A well-armed society is a polite society". I also believe that the people should be able to own weapons, including automatic weapons. Imagine if you were an Iraqi (Iraq's on the brink of civil war) - with no quarrel with anyone - you would need lots of weapons to defend yourself.

No individual can wage war like a big well-funded organisation can. Governments cause wars. The break down of governments cause wars. Supposing you were just an "average" Joe, with a family... wouldn't you want a gun when you could no longer depend on your govt to defend you? Or perhaps it might be the government who is the aggressor.

Just because there are less gun related crimes in S'pore than there are in Canada or the US doesn't make a case outright ban of personal firearms. You see, Dr Jones, you've forgotten one thing: Freedom. Freedom can be messy - every individual is "asserting his identity" - and at times, especially in big cities this can be chaotic. So what? What is wrong with allowing individuals to be free so they can be stupid, loud, annoying at times? You'll also find imagination, creativity and rugged individualism. In other words, let the individual CHOOSE - it is his life.

With regard to justice, I subscribe to the libertarian code (ala Murray Rothbard and Walter Block): "2 eyes for an eye" - 1 "eye" to replace the damaged property, and another eye as "punishment". If property worth $X is damaged (vandalised), then the offender has to pay $2X. To flog him is unjust. I do however support flogging for physical hurt and rape - i.e. punishment for the person who initiates of physical force.

I grew up in the 70's. Lee Kuan Yew closed discoteques, made long-haired males a target of the police as well as stand in the back of queues, started hanging drug dealers and uttered his famous words about individulals relinquishing their rights for the "good of society". But that's not all. Publications like Penthouse and Hustler were banned. All information was vetted. Magazines and books had pages ripped from them or blacked out if the writings criticised the government. Even songs like "Puff the Magic Dragon", "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" and "Try A Little Help From My Friends" were BANNED. We laugh at that now, but I spent my teenage years unable to experience "The Clockwork Orange" or "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". I never knew who Lenny Bruce or George Carlin or Bill Hicks or Sam Kinnison until I left Singapore.

Imagine that, to take away laughter from an individual. To have what I think as "funny" censorsed by LKY and his apparatchiks.

To this day, you cannot get Timothy Leary's books, nor any of George Carlin's CD's. Thankfully, you can order them over the net, and they've relaxed the censorship laws somewhat.

But forget about me. So I was a deprived teen, so what? That's my problem.

Anyone who is critical of LKY has found themselves in deep dung: Chris Lingle, Tan Wah Piau, Francis Seow, JBJ, Chee Soon Juan, Chia Teck Poh... even William Safire - a dyed in the wool Reganite. In the 80's friends of mine were locked up for some trumpped up "Marxist conspiracy". Presently, a young film maker Martyn See is being bullied by the cops for making "political films".

Until you've lived here, you won't actually know, because one has to experience this, and then live in a free society just to make the comparison. It is sad that your aunt was a victim of crime. I do believe that your emotion is colouring your judgement somewhat.

BTW, I'm not a do-gooder. I'm not one of those fluffy new-age types who believe in "peace and love". Heck, leaning very much toward Ayn Rand's Objectivism and the classical liberal ideas of Molinari, Bastiat, Mises and Rothbard, I'm even sceptical of (political) democracy.

But I do believe in the primacy and sovereignty of the individual.

All the best

Anonymous said...

Alright, so what do we need besides drugs and guns? Rock n Roll? And is it my fault if I shoot both of you? I'm confused.. but isn't gun ownership the domain of right-wing fascists like the neo-cons and Republicans?

Tim Footman said...

Funny isn't it, how everyone seems to luuuurve Singapore if they don't have to live there? I'm a Brit, and our PM drools over LKY, even to the extent of allowing him to queuejump National Health Service waiting lists when he had a funny turn in London a couple of years ago. I also live in Thailand, a country that is apparently being sold piecemeal to Temasek, by the 'patriotic' PM.

Singapore is, after all, just like Bangkok, without the leprous beggars or the smell of sewage. And can someone tell me how the Raffles Hotel got such a great reputation?

VV good site, btw.

Tim Footman said...

Also, Bailey's isn't a sherry. It's a sickly mixture of whiskey, cocoa and cream. Does this halfwit mean Bailey's Irish Cream; or Cream Sherry?

These things matter...

Matilah_Singapura said...

to anonymous: yep, the facists love their guns. but so do tribes people, quiet farmers and average folk, who have defended their property when facists tried to drive them off the land. For e.g.: Iraq and afganistan - Not everyone shooting at the "Coilition of the willing" is a terrorist. many are simply defending their homes and families

Matilah_Singapura said...

to tim footman: Hiya. I'm in Thailand too. Today's - April 2, 2006 - an interesting day indeed... Temasek wants to rule the world. And Toxin's making sure he's in step with "kindred spirits". They're all the same: Howard, Bush, Toxin, Lee... screw the little people, carve up their countries and sell it to the highest bidder. They call it "globalisation". At least the Thais can protest it. Try that in S'pore, and they slam you. Worse still, they'll justify it.

dan said...

Who owns an individual's life?

Matilah_Singapura: So, according to you, I'm supposed not to give a damn if close acquaintances become crack heads and alcoholics? I'm supposed to close an eye cuz it's none of my business?

If this is indeed the unofficial blog of the SDP, I guess we all can look forward to legalisation of psychedelic drug use if they're in power huh.. Wow we can also look forward to "an eye for an eye" type of justice. Hit on my girl? I'll decorate your head with my .44 Magnum!

Hey you grew up in the 70s dude? Poor thing, I think you're still living in the 70s man!

Anonymous said...

"I'm a Brit, and our PM drools over LKY, even to the extent of allowing him to queuejump National Health Service waiting lists when he had a funny turn in London a couple of years ago."

Don't be stupid, we'll allow your Queen to jump queue too if she has a stroke here. Can't let her die, can we? That Charles is so ugly.

soci said...

"If this is indeed the unofficial blog of the SDP," according to who?

rench00 said...

matilah_Singapura:
a good friend of mine has asthma. and whenever someone lights up near her, she become breathless. now if she was in a kopitiam and someone lights up, does she have the right to ask that person to stop smoking? is she the one who has to move or should the person who is smoking give in to her?

now about heroin addicts. yes. it's their right to fuck up their own lives. but if, in fucking up their own lives, they steal their parents' hard-earned money, rob other people, hurt others when they go crazy because of withdrawl symptoms, does society then have the right and responsibility to incarcerate these addicts?

man is born free, but is everywhere in chains.

you might own your own life, but you have a responsibility to those around you, to society in general to act in a certain fashion so as not to be a nuisance. if you cannot discharge that responsibility, you forfeit your right to be master of yourself.

Anonymous said...

of course to people accustomed to the monolithic PAP political-economic machine, all dissenting parties must be part of a monolithic system, so obviously SOCI must be in league with Chee Soon Juan; dont need to be so affronted by the comment

Matilah_Singapura said...

To dan:
> I'm supposed not to give a damn if close acquaintances become crack heads and alcoholics? I'm supposed to close an eye cuz it's none of my business?

No. What you do is up to you. It is none of =>my<= business. (As you don't physically interfere with me,I don't care what you do with your life)

> Hey you grew up in the 70s dude? Poor thing, I think you're still living in the 70s man!

Dude, at least the music didn't suck back then!

To rench00:
> she have the right to ask that person to stop smoking? is she the one who has to move or should the person who is smoking give in to her?

She has the right to do whatever she chooses with her life, as long as she doesn't thump the smoker. The smoker in this case, I assume, would be a stranger and therefore unaware of her condition. Anyway, fear not, it won't be long before smoking in kopitiams will be gone forever.

As much as I empathise with your friend, her medical condition is none of anyone else's business. If she is sick, it is up to her to do her "due diligence" and Look After Number One. IMO going to a kopitiam fully aware that there could be evil inconsiderate smokers there is bloody stupid idea. Sorry ;)

> now about heroin addicts. yes. it's their right to fuck up their own lives. but if, in fucking up their own lives, they steal [...]

If they steal, then they commit a crime against other people's property. Forget heroin, or illicit drugs in general. Take alcohol for example: If you get drunk and kill someone in a drunken rage, or whilst driving - those are serious crimes because other people are physically harmed by your actions. You can get groggy too from antihistamines, cough mixture etc. The warnings on these products tell you not to drive or operate machinery. Ignore them at your own peril.

> you might own your own life, but you have a responsibility to those around you

No I don't. I only have a responsibility to myself. If I had a responsibility to those around me, then I DON'T own my own life. I do however have contractual obligations to people whom I've chosen wilfully to have a relationship with.

There is only one obligation for me: to leave people the hell ALONE to do as they please with their own lives, without interfering with mine.

Self mastery is not a right, it is a (selfish) choice :-)

Anonymous said...

With regard to justice, I subscribe to the libertarian code (ala Murray Rothbard and Walter Block): "2 eyes for an eye" - 1 "eye" to replace the damaged property, and another eye as "punishment". If property worth $X is damaged (vandalised), then the offender has to pay $2X. To flog him is unjust. I do however support flogging for physical hurt and rape - i.e. punishment for the person who initiates of physical force.

So really, you shouldn't be all that anti-Bush. You should be in the same league with him. I mean, the WTC was attacked, and Bush then chose to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. 2X more damage!

You can get groggy too from antihistamines, cough mixture etc. The warnings on these products tell you not to drive or operate machinery. Ignore them at your own peril.

Don't be stupid. I hardly think anyone would steal or commit a crime (much less kill someone) cuz they've been taking anti-histamines.

No I don't. I only have a responsibility to myself. If I had a responsibility to those around me, then I DON'T own my own life

Wow no responsibility huh. So where did you dump your parents? In some shitty Home? I sure hope you don't have kids man.

Matilah_Singapura said...

to anonymous:
>So really, you shouldn't be all that anti-Bush. You should be in the same league with him. I mean, the WTC was attacked, and Bush then chose to attack Afghanistan and Iraq. 2X more damage!

I don't really care about Bush. I didn't vote for him. As far as I'm concerned he's not directly affecting my property rights, so he can do as he pleases.

BTW I think you need to look at how you form your premises and draw your conclusions. Just a suggestion... ;-)

> Don't be stupid. I hardly think anyone would steal or commit a crime (much less kill someone) cuz they've been taking anti-histamines.

Don't be an moron, asshole. You don't know that for sure.

>Wow no responsibility huh. So where did you dump your parents? In some shitty Home? I sure hope you don't have kids man

WOW. I hope your kids kill you in your sleep man, for being such a fucking idiot. :-)

Re-read what I wrote. I mentioned something about contractual obligations and the choice of who I associate with. In my case I choose to associate with my family, and everyone of those individual relationships comes with (implicit) contractual obligations (aka "responsibilities") which => I <= must choose to adhere to, or not.

If I don't, I feel the consequence. If I do, I reap the benefit. So my point still stands: I live for myself and myself alone.

What you do with your life, is your business.

soci said...

Anonymous said...
of course to people accustomed to the monolithic PAP political-economic machine, all dissenting parties must be part of a monolithic system, so obviously SOCI must be in league with Chee Soon Juan; dont need to be so affronted by the comment


Merely correcting an error.

clyde said...

"Dude, at least the music didn't suck back then!"

ahaha...that's so true it's almost not that funny.

rench00 said...

the jury is out regarding whether second hand smoke is bad. so smokers can smoke in the presence of other people. and then 10 years down the road, if it is found that secondhand smoke is indeed damaging, what then? it's already too late for smokers to apologise to the many people who have been harmed by secondhand smoke. the damage is already done. it's like... well... i don't know whether this drug will kill you. why don't you take it first and then let's see. isn't that darn stupid?

further, yes. as matilah_singapura himself admitted, each person has to make sure that he leaves other people alone. that is the prime responsibility that the individual has to others around him, that whatever he does does not interfere with anyone else's life. so if a person, because he takes heroin, or smokes or drinks, end up interfering with some other person's life, then the society has the right to stop that person from taking heroin, smoke or drink.

Matilah_Singapura said...

>i don't know whether this drug will kill you. why don't you take it first and then let's see. isn't that darn stupid?

We all operate from "imperfect" knowledge. I like freedom and liberty. Oh yah... it comes with a big price ;-)

>so if a person, because he takes heroin, or smokes or drinks, end up interfering with some other person's life, then the society has the right to stop that person from taking heroin, smoke or drink.

No. The cops, backed up by specific laws, are there to stop people from doing that which harms others. For e.g. I can drink myself to a stupor. As long as I don't harm others, I must be left alone. Should I start a fight or drive a car, stop me. The act of starting a fight (initiation of violence) and driving a car whilst under the influence is prohibited, not the drinking itself.

The same argument will apply to mind-bending drugs. However those are banned in Singapore. It is likely that the govt will kill you first before the illicit drug will. ;-)

However, there is another argument which you've missed. If you ever encounter someone like me who spruiks "individual rights" to the point of being annoying, consider this line of argument:

If we have a public health system, funded by (mine and your) tax dollars, then I have a RIGHT to tell you what you can and cannot do with your life. If you smoke, drink and do drugs; eat hi-fat food, refuse to wear condoms and get depressed, then because of the tax-funded health care system, you are costing me money.

Therefore I can go to my government and get them to pass laws to stop you doing bloody stupid things. This is the line of argument taken in Australia where John Howard and his Christian Soldiers are moving Onward to force-feed us with their morals.

I of course never believed in a public healthcare system, or public anything for that matter. I'm a privateer, free market anarchist, so I reject that argument outright. :-)

You're welcome. It's my pleasure to give away the occasional free kick.

lee hsien tau said...

I'm afraid Dr Gifford Jones is sorely mistaken. Even if his 102 year old aunt-in-law were to move to Singapore, she'll wind up having to lock her doors whether or not she values her bottle of Irish Cream Sherry. Hell, there are other ways for friends and neighbours to drop by and check on her. Invite the CIA to rig-up a system by changing her name to 'Bin Laden' or 'Al Zakawi' or something. It doesn't even need to be exact; just sounding similar will do. Anything that will make George Bush smell blood.