Purging the Past

Purging the PastFalse news is in the news. Preachers of alternative truth are everywhere. But just as insidious as news creationism is the trend to purge the memory of unpleasant facts, and to judge the past entirely in terms of the values of the present.  Singapore is a place not normally seen as squeamish about its colonial…

Singapore’s Nanny State Kicks Out Foreign Support for LGBTs

Singapore’s Nanny State Kicks Out Foreign Support for LGBTsClaiming interference in domestic affairs, Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs has ruled that foreign entities are heretofore to be barred from sponsoring Pink Dot, an annual nonprofit event for the LGBT community put on at Singapore’s Speaker’s Corner in Hong Lim Park, the only venue where free speech is allowed. The event, a rather sedate…

Singapore’s ‘Jolly Hangman’ About to Strike

Singapore’s ‘Jolly Hangman’ About to StrikeOn Feb. 17, 2008, a 24-year-old Sarawakian migrant working in a rag and bone company in Singapore was drinking an apparently potent substance called “Narcissus Ginseng Wine Tonic” with four friends when they got the idea to rob someone. After they split up and three of them went their separate way, Jabing and his friend,…

Besieged Singaporean Blogger Again Turns to Crowdfunding

Besieged Singaporean Blogger Again Turns to CrowdfundingNearly two years ago, a now-34-year-old Singaporean blogger named Roy Ngerng intimated in his “Heart Truths” blog that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had diverted money from the country’s central provident fund. In doing so, he unleashed a whirlwind that has cost him his job, got him sued for civil libel and demonstrated the ominous…

Rights Groups Fight for Singapore Murder Reversal

Rights Groups Fight for Singapore Murder ReversalHuman rights organizations in Singapore are working feverishly to try to save the life of a convicted murderer who was given a rare stay of execution only to have the prosecution appeal the decision and demand that the death penalty be reinstated. In 2009, Kho Jabing, a 31-year-old Malaysian national from Sarawak, and a co-defendant…

Singapore PM Lee Warns Yale-NUS Alliance: This isn’t New Haven

Singapore PM Lee Warns Yale-NUS Alliance: This isn’t New HavenSingapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, at the inauguration of the new Yale-National University of Singapore campus, told the audience that collaboration between the two “cannot be a carbon copy of Yale in the United States if it is to succeed. Instead, it has to experiment and adapt the Yale model to Asia.” The alliance…

Singapore’s Teenage Rebel

Singapore’s Teenage RebelThen he started telling us how he was never ashamed, when he was in some kind of trouble or something, to get right down his knees and pray to God. He told us we should always pray to God—talk to Him and all—wherever we were. He told us we ought to think of Jesus as…

How Asia’s Governments Spy on Their Citizens

How Asia’s Governments Spy on Their CitizensIf you live in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam and you are an activist or a journalist, the government probably knows a lot more about the inside of your computer than you think, and more than you want it to. On July 5, unknown hackers broke into the computers a shadowy company based in Italy…

Teen Singapore Blogger Goes Free

Teen Singapore Blogger Goes FreeA Singapore court has sentenced the 16-year-old blogger Amos Yee Pang Sang to four weeks in jail, backdated to June 2 – meaning he was freed  on the same day as the sentencing, ending an ordeal that began shortly after the March 23 death of founder and patriarch Lee Kuan Yew, who had ruled Singapore…

It Doesn’t Pay to Insult Lee Kuan Yew, Dead or Not

It Doesn’t Pay to Insult Lee Kuan Yew, Dead or NotShortly after the March 23 death of the towering leader Lee Kuan Yew, who had ruled Singapore with an iron hand directly or behind the scenes for much of the 56 years since he took power in 1959, a youth named Amos Yee Pang Sang uploaded an obscenity-laced nine-minute video onto YouTube criticizing Lee and…
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