19 Jun 2006

Singapore blogger could be jailed for Jesus cartoons

Have we posted this story? Another example of clamping down on blogging.

Jesus cartoons could draw jail for Singapore blogger
Wed Jun 14, 1:36 PM ET

A Singaporean blogger is under investigation for posting cartoons mocking Jesus Christ and could be jailed up to three years, the police said.

A police spokesman declined to give details about the suspect, who was described by the Straits Times as a 21-year-old office worker with his own blog site. His race and religion were not disclosed.

The blogger, who described himself as a "free thinker," had first posted a cartoon depicting Jesus Christ as a zombie biting a boy's head in January, the Straits Times said.

He ignored an online message asking for the cartoon's removal and went on to post more caricatures of Christ to spite the sender.

"I never thought anyone would complain to the police because the pictures were not insidious," he told the newspaper, adding the cartoons have already been removed from his site.

He was called in by police in March and the investigation is ongoing.

"It is a serious offence for any person to distribute or reproduce any seditious publication which may cause feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes," said a police statement sent to AFP.

Singapore, a multi-racial island nation, clamps down hard on anyone inciting communal tensions. Two ethnic Chinese men were jailed last year for anti-Muslim blogs.

Ethnic Chinese make up 76 percent of Singapore's resident population of 3.4 million with Malay Muslims accounting for 13.7 percent followed by ethnic Indians, Eurasians and other racial groups.

Under the Sedition Act, offenders may be liable to imprisonment of up to three years or a fine not more than 5,000 Singapore (3,144 US) dollars or both.

Censors last month barred viewers below 16 years of age from watching "The Da Vinci Code" because they were afraid some children might see it as a factual movie.

The blockbuster film poses the explosive idea that Jesus Christ married his follower Mary Magdalene and started a blood line that still exists in secret.


Seph said...

The most stupid sedition act. Did u guys take a look at the cartoon?? go search it.. the picture is cartoon and hardly graphic for goodness sake. hell now I know how small Singapore OB markers are.. Sth is seriously wrong with the sedition act.

Anonymous said...

I think the authorities are writing letters to Jesus right about now asking if He wants to forgive Char. They should just ask Bush instead, heard he's got a direct line to God. And I think the guy who made a complaint to the police must be from the Taliban wing of Opus Dei.

Anonymous said...

I agree with seph that people should look at the cartoon before making any judgment, especially base on the words of our 140th media.

Before I actually look at the 'seditious' cartoon with my own eyes, I was also taken in by the 140th media report that this guy must be posting something horrible to incur the wrath of the authority and religious organization here. Judging from the way the reporter write that piece of junk, you really do think the ‘cartoon’ must be very graphically gross, abusive and vicious.

But after looking at those cartoons with my own eyes, I am rather amused as well as sad. Amused that how the authority and the religious organization are overreacting over that comic, and sad that how the sedition law can be so easily manipulated to turn a mole hill into a mountain. In fact, when I show it to an American colleague, he was not even offended, and was too abused that it could stir up such a reaction. To quote his words, ‘Are you Singaporeans losing your sense of humor?’ In which I replied him, “Yeah, I think we lost it since we gain independent.”

Seriously, if that piece of cartoon is actually that ‘seditious’ that would harm the ‘harmony’ of our peaceful society, then the movie da Vinci code should not even be allowed to show here. IMO, that movie itself is 100 times more ‘seditious’ than that piece of cartoon. If our people could differentiate between fact and fiction from a movie that attract tens of thousands of people, why can’t we do the same to a piece of cartoon on a blog that would definitely attract an even lesser audiences?

I have this feeling that it is more about someone getting into an argument with the blogger, and choose to report the case later trying to abuse the sedition law for some personal vengeance. After all if one know how strict and intolerance our law is, it is not hard to get the blogger into trouble just for something so insignificant and pathetic.

teck soon said...

It seems that Christians in Singapore are unwilling to "turn the other cheek" in this case. What would Jesus do?

Anonymous said...

it's just a hoax really. pap is doing this to assuage christians who have been hurt by the screening of da vinci's code. how can we let a newspaper report give the name of an offender as 'char' only when he is clearly above 21. for all we know, this is just a fictitious character working full time in the isd. remember who coin the term 'wayang-party'?

rench00 said...

actually, i think this whole issue became a problem because some Christian reported Char. if not for that Christian, then Char probably won't get into any trouble. but it's because someone has made a complaint, and if nothing is done about it, there then can be serious repurcussions.

whether or not Singaporeans have lost their sense of humour, the same can be asked of the Muslims. to me, the cartoons of the Prophet posted in the Dutch paper seems perfectly alright, slightly tongue in cheek. but i respect the fact that there are some Muslims who were offended by it.

should we then allow these people to impose their cultural sensitivities on us via the long arm of the law? or should we say,
"screw them, we post what we like, we think it's funny, if you don't like it, you have no sense of humour and you can fuck off and die"? where should it stop then? if i called one of the bloggers in this blog "a fucking cheebye asshole" and thought it was funny, but he/she gets offended by it, then how? who decides?

Anonymous said...

Muslims are an extremely sensative race. The blokes lead a funny life, praying five times a day does not leave much time left to do a job, and when they are not praying they must spend the time shagging one of their four wives, looking at the number of thick stupid kids they spawn.

I am not against any religion or kids, there is a place in this world for both, its the sensativity I query. And the fact the PAP bends over backwards to placate muslims is worrying.

Come on get a life.

rench00 said...

fuck you.

i dare you to tell us all who you are, and to justify what you have just said.

i am not muslim, but i have many good muslim friends who are million times more intelligent than you are or ever will be.

rench00 said...

and this is what happens when you have freedom of speech. especially when you can hide behind the mask of anonymity. you get idiots like the anonymous before saying rubbish crap shit.

Anonymous said...


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or tune in to 106.5 FM (radio) for the reading of 9ping everyday at 3pm and 10pm

Anonymous said...

Why can't JESUS marry MARY MAGDELENE???

How did the censor board know that it is only FICTION???


Capt_Canuck said...

Think it is more a case of the sliding slope effect. If there was a report that a person could post a cartoon mocking a religious figure and nothing was done by the gov't, then when someone posted a cartoon/verse/song about another religious figure (say, Mohammad) and offence was taken then the people would sit back and say "well, you didnt punish THIS person for that cartoon, why punish for this cartoon?" Then making the law decide, think, consider, go to precidents and ask the question "what is acceptable and what is not?" Easier to just prosecute everyone for slightly stepping out of line, then to have to consider a line of what is acceptable or not.

Though, 'Char' being a fictional character created by the PAP is also a reasonable idea. Every now and then you have to 'rattle the saber' to show the people that you are still serious. So, instead of sitting back, waiting for someone to break the law and have a personal thing happening, best to create something that is easily contained and controlled.

Anonymous said...

Count your blessings ... before they are gone... with the wind ... for ever......

Anonymous said...

In recent history, there are many examples of well-managed, beautiful countries which were of envy to many, but are now in extremely sorry state as a result of mismanagement, 'misgoverning', etc. The Philippines was second only to Japan (among all Asian countries) in terms of economic standing. Now, it is hardly better than the worst of the third world countries. Sri Lanka (Ceylon) was the model colony of the British Empire with beautiful tourist attractions, lucrative gems stones exports, etc. etc. Now, it is among the poorest on this planet.

So, count your blessings ... before they are gone... with the wind ... for ever......

Matilah_Singapura said...

Unforgiving Christians who can't leave things alone and "turn the other cheek".

What a concept! :-)

chr said...

saber rattling, it isn't. i hate having to even play the media for this case, but i'm seriously sick and tired of the case being sat on for so long, with no end in sight.

do I hate christians? no. or perhaps my only answer to that is "only the fundamentalist ones"; having about three-quarters of my friends christian, and being an ex-christian myself.

dan said...

Muslims are an extremely sensative race. The blokes lead a funny life, praying five times a day does not leave much time left to do a job, and when they are not praying they must spend the time shagging one of their four wives, looking at the number of thick stupid kids they spawn.

I am not against any religion or kids, there is a place in this world for both, its the sensativity I query. And the fact the PAP bends over backwards to placate muslims is worrying.

Come on get a life.


Hey dumb fuck, I'm an agnostic and I don't care too much for religions but I do think that muslims in Singapore are much more moderate than the christians we have. Have you ever met a local Muslim going on about Allah and Islam while bashing other religions like local christians zealots do? Of course not. Evangelists and fundamentalists give me the creeps, listening to them talk is like listening to Barry Manilow on playback. Makes you want to punch yourself. Those blatantly racist bloggers' punishment were fair enough. But on this apparently seditious Jesus cartoon, I'm sorry that you and short fuck Wong Kan Seng lack the brains to discern between hate speech and satire.

C'mon, get a brain. I'm sorry your old folks spawned such a thick stupid kid.

Matilah_Singapura said...

Hey char,

It's a case of people taking life and themselves too seriously. Minister Wong is a definite worry. If he had any character (humanity) he would have just brushed it off.

Very soon none of us would be able to express anything—not because the govt or the state are "the enemy", but some fellow citizen who is simply having a bad-hair day.

You have my sympathies on what happened to you. Sedition is the incitement of a rebellion against the state. How they've "reasoned" from the posting of a few silly cartoons to "sedition" is a nonsense.

Here's the cover to (my favourite comedian) George Carlin's latest book:


The WEIRD thing is I bought it at BORDER'S 2 weeks ago, and there was a stack of copies.

My Public Plea —— Folks, please DO NOT COMPLAIN to the govt and get this book BANNED. All you have to do if you disagree with Carlin, is to walk away from his book and allow others to decide for themselves!

BTW, When Will Jesus Bring The Pork Chops? is definitely worth a read!

chr said...

"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."
-- From Glorious Appearing by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

Available from the National Library.

Something tells me that should my case be a precedent, book burning will probably be the first thing to follow.