September 29, 2006

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Singapore bans FEER

Now the IMF/World Bank roadshow has moved on, Singapore's continued attempts to clamp down on foreign media not to its liking reach a new low. While the domestic media appropriately cowed and under control, the paranoid Singaporean government has required all foreign publications distributed there to appoint a legal representative and pay a bond of about US$125,000. The FEER is, to date, the only publication to refuse to go along with this, putting principle above profit. The editor, Hugo Restall, says on the FEER blog:

The Singaporean government today announced that it has banned the Far Eastern Economic Review from the country. It has explicitly warned that not only is the Review Publishing Company forbidden from importing or distributing the Hong Kong-based monthly, but Singaporeans will also commit a criminal offense if they import or reproduce the magazine for distribution...We regret that this action infringes on the fundamental rights of our Singaporean subscribers and further restricts the already narrow scope of free expression in Singapore.
Mr Restall is also being sued by Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and Lee Kuan Yew. This makes a marked contrast to some other august publications that quickly caved when threatened by the Singapore government. The Chinese are learning a thing or two on media control from them Singapore.

Clearly for many media types, all the blather about principles and integrity stops at the bottom line. Good on the FEER.

posted by Simon on 09.29.06 at 09:41 AM in the Singapore category.


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Debate: Is this Asian values, or rich assholes who fear the ''under'' class and popular dissent?

posted by: bean counter on 09.29.06 at 02:26 PM [permalink]

"The Chinese are learning a thing or two on media control from them Singapore."

The chinese are learning from the CHINESE on media control in Singapore. Just a case of the diasporic imperiums of the chinese herd sharing p2p info.

Why do you think they harp on bringing back chinese culture in singapore at the expense of multi-racial harmony? It's a culture that creates subservience and which, in turn, makes 'control' a thing of the past as the human and humane mind is relieved of those aspects that can feel the pressure of 'control'.

posted by: wonderer on 09.29.06 at 03:19 PM [permalink]

You'll have to explain the above, wonderer. No offence intended, but I don't have a freakin' clue what you're talking about.

posted by: bean counter on 09.29.06 at 04:07 PM [permalink]

Interesting that the repressive anti-liberal laws in Singapore were a legacy of the British colonial era. As was the case in Hong Kong.

posted by: shwe on 09.29.06 at 10:03 PM [permalink]

I think what wonderer is referring to (correct me if I'm wrong) is the deep-rooted subservient character of ordinary folks embedded in the Chinese culture, as a result of thousands of years of imperial rule and feudalism in an agricultural society, which basically consists of two classes: the rulers and the subjects. As long as the subjects regard themselves as such, which they do, even in today's Chinese societies, there's little need to "control" them. It is this cultural characteristic that makes it so difficult for the notion of democracy to penetrate Chinese societies (including Hong Kong).

posted by: Legolas on 09.30.06 at 02:38 AM [permalink]

Legolas is right.

However, please also remember that Singapore is a *rich* third-world country/city-state ruled by a lunatic ar*ehole and his offspring.

If you research enough, you will find a genetic link between Lee Kwan Yew (the Singapore chimpanzee) and Kim Jong-il (the North Korean monkey).

Even Mainland China citizens (the real Chinese) protest against the dubious policies of their communist rulers. But Singapore Chinese are impotent hybrids who dare not say anything against or to their dictator(s).

It's a pity. Really.

Auf Wiedersehen! Or should I say "Ciao!"

posted by: Bull on 10.01.06 at 04:22 AM [permalink]

BTW, after having said all of the above, the fact is that Singapore Airlines' girls are pretty and sexy. They should bonk around to enrich their failing genetic pool.

Auf Wiedersehen!

posted by: Bull on 10.01.06 at 04:29 AM [permalink]

Chinese subservience, as manifest in the level of mass uprisings and protests in China per year?

posted by: shwe on 10.01.06 at 09:31 PM [permalink]

Indeed, the tide appears to be turning at long last, thanks to the internet and globalization. The question is: when will the tipping point be reached - when will true democracy find its footing within Asian countries with ethnic Chinese societies? Do Chinese people really want democracy, or they just want benevolent rulers (wishful thinking)?

posted by: Legolas on 10.02.06 at 12:33 PM [permalink]

i very much doubt what happens in China has anything to do with globalisation and the internet, except in the sense in which global capitalism has created greater inequality. These assertions about Chinese cultural deference really don't get borne out by Chinese history.

posted by: shwe on 10.02.06 at 05:25 PM [permalink]

I often ponder over the reasons why Sun Yat Sen was not able to convince the Chinese to believe in democracy, and why the Chinese people chose to adore Mao and regard him as an emperor. Doesn't that have anything to do with inborn submissiveness, based on historic cultural values? Chip Tao blamed it on the Chinese DNA. I would regard it as a result of historic and circumstantial factors. History definitely has played a part in forming the people's attitudes towards politics and cultural values.

posted by: Legolas on 10.03.06 at 02:08 AM [permalink]

Perhaps it's not so much submissiveness to authority as to fate.

posted by: Legolas on 10.03.06 at 04:10 AM [permalink]

I'm always a little confused at where this notion of submissiveness in the Chinese body politic came from. China has probably had more rebellions, civil wars, and insurrections than any other nation around.

posted by: Jing on 10.04.06 at 07:20 AM [permalink]

I think it's something that westerners conjure up to explain why they dont' see huge insurrections and fights to the death over democracy.

posted by: bean counter on 10.04.06 at 09:26 AM [permalink]

The submissiveness in Chinese culture comes from the Confucian concept of filial piety. It comes from the entire society being told to respect the elders and leaders. The entire Chinese education system from 300 BC onward was setup to drill respect elders and parents, hardwork, be humble, respect elders and parents, work hard, be humble, respect elders and parents.

Additionally Taoism and Buddhism both contain rather strong strains of fatalism. Reincarnation means you get what you deserve based upon a prior life. So if you deserve it you cannot complain.

I would not put Lee Quan Yu in the same class as Kim Jong Ill. I would certainly live in Singapore rather than North KOrea if I had the choice. Indeed, I don't see Singapore as being any more repressive than the UK.

posted by: Fai Mao on 10.05.06 at 01:08 PM [permalink]

Re: Bull's comments "But Singapore Chinese are impotent hybrids who dare not say anything against or to their dictator(s)."

Who are you to comment about Singapore Chinese if they choose to live within a system that you disagree with? By voting for the 'dictator(s)', it does not mean they are impotent. They have exercised their right for a system they want.

Trust me, it's not necessarily all fear-driven: that's only something the Western media and liberal critics would like to believe.

Speak only when you yourself have personally stood up to the failings of your own government, whichever it is.

posted by: thecatman on 10.05.06 at 04:20 PM [permalink]

Fai Mao, thank you for your elaboration on Chinese history and culture. Most Westerners think they understand the Chinese people but in fact they don't.

posted by: Legolas on 10.06.06 at 02:00 AM [permalink]

I would question that Fai Mao knows anyting about Chinese culture?

reincarnation means ''Fatalism?'' What a poor understanding of an Eastern philosophy. Sounds like a westerner repeating half of what he or she read during a sleepy all-nighter in the college library in Akron, Ohio. Not at all accurate. Reincarnation is the opposite of fatalism.

posted by: bean counter on 10.06.06 at 10:38 AM [permalink]

at the FEER party tonight, Hugo Restall quoted Lee Kuan Yew as saying that democracy can't survive without a free press.

''This was probably when he was still the opposition,'' said our fair noble editor.

now back to improving Hong Kong-US-Taiwan-Malaysian relations

life is good.

posted by: pooty tang on 10.07.06 at 04:28 AM [permalink]

This is off topic- sorry. I got this address from someone posting on a taiwan site started by expats. I would like comment on the following: HK polls taken over several years (sorry I don't know how to link, but I'll try to get an address if you don't know which one I'm talking about) basically show that HKers seem satisfied with 'one country two systems', yet there are still well attended democracy protests in HK every year. How can I reconcile this?

posted by: vera Darmo on 10.07.06 at 06:02 AM [permalink]

errr...exactly what needs clarifying? The two are perfectly compatible.

Don't think its chineseness as much as it is a population starved of information. If there was ever clear evidence of a need for free speech and open exchange of environment, it's here in the comments section of this post about Andy Xie.

The level of discussion and ignorance is abysmal.

posted by: xiaobao on 10.08.06 at 12:24 AM [permalink]

FEER could write what they like.

The Singapore Leaders could sue if they believe their reputation is tarnished.

Hey, its all the same throughout the world!

But Singapore Laws have little power in Hongkong. If Hongkong ignores Singapore, then relations could be worse? No? But its Hongkong's right.

So at best Singapore Government could just ban FEER in Singapore!

But if FEER puts a joke such as Chee (I am ashamed to say he is my fellow Singaporean)in even a little good light, FEER's reputation could be seriously damaged.

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posted by: angel on 10.18.06 at 06:38 AM [permalink]

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