Sleeping with strangers, part 1

The issue of capital punishment has migrated in several directions. Even among those unsupportive of the death penalty as it stands, not all directions or sub-issues has everybody’s support. There’s a growing risk of confusion, especially to others who have not been following the debate closely.

In addition, different campaigners prefer using different starting points. Some prefer to use a current case as a signature issue to press for a reprieve. The problem with that is that many of the arguments employed are necessarily particular to that case and may not have general applicability to capital punishment as a whole. Others prefer to keep the debate centred on the abstract, but that has far less human interest appeal and hence a much lower chance of gaining popular traction.

To complicate matters, side issues are invariably linked, such as media black-out, censorship and contempt of court. These arise from the reaction of the government and its subservient media to what they perceive as a challenge to a long-established policy of killing people.

This essay aims to sprinkle some clarity over these intertwined sub-issues before things spiral into total confusion.

The chief bifurcation at the moment is between those who stand for total abolition of the death penalty and those who argue for merely the discontinuation of the mandatory death penalty, leaving the decision in the hands of a judge. The latter has the advantage of support from the legal profession — if I remember correctly, the Law Society has voiced its position in favour of this. But also, as recently argued by Pritam Singh from OpinionAsia, and who is also a member of the Workers’ Party, this largely rests on a practical recognition of the fact that Singaporeans by and large continue to support capital punishment.

Pritam wrote:

Now let me be clear about it, there is enough anecdotal information to suggest that many Singaporeans are not against the death penalty, especially in regard to heinous crimes and even drug-smuggling. Considering that countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand not to mention the US retain the death penalty, it is virtually impossible to make a strong argument that can support doing away with the death penalty in this neck of the woods, especially considering the narrow scope of public discourse in a one-party dominated state such as Singapore.

The unique problem in the Singapore case (and Malaysia and Indonesia. I know India does not have a mandatory death penalty regime. I understand China does not as well, although someone mentioned to me that it applies if more than 50g of heroin is involved. In Singapore it is 15g. Would appreciate some clarification here on China and whether there is a mandatory death penalty regime for drugs) is that Singapore’s parliament, many years ago, passed the Misuse of Drugs (MDA) Act which invokes the mandatory death penalty. As I have stated elsewhere, in mandatory death sentence cases, mitigation is irrelevant and the judicial process concludes upon a finding of guilt. I disagree with this simply because it gives a judge no power to deviate from the MDA, even if there are extenuating circumstances relevant to an accused. Even if there are potentially reasonable grounds – low IQ, unique circumstances etc. to justify a sentence other than a death sentence, the judge is powerless to rule outside the ambit of the law. The process of imposing the mandatory death penalty is largely  administrative, not judicial as popularly thought of.

The other problem with the mandatory death sentence regime is that it puts too much discretion in the hands of the Public Prosecutor (PP), the PAP state’s lawyer. While the PP must have discretion in general, because of the way the mandatory death sentence regime works, he/she effectively becomes the all powerful arbiter, as he/she holds has all the evidence and police investigation reports in hand. Ever so often, cases come to court where the accused has allegedly trafficked 14.99g of heroin. This boggles the mind. Needless to say, the PP has determined, often through the ubiquitous “laboratory test” that the pure heroin content had come up to 14.99 grams. What a lucky accused! Thank you PP! Who needs the separation of powers schema between the Executive and Judiciary anymore? The Chief Justice might as well appoint the Fairy-God mother to the bench!

[snip]

In light of the societal barometer, what ought to be called for is a move away from the mandatory death penalty regime. A similar case to Yong Vui Kong may well come up in a no-mandatory death penalty jurisdiction, and a judge may well sentence the accused to death, if the circumstances dictate so. The fear has been, and Lee Kuan Yew has verbalised this, is that judges will not dare to hang anyone if there were no mandatory death penalty regime. I am not going to get into this argument. I would think if that is the case, then a judge is mentally not fit to sit on the bench, and the Chief Justice made a rather poor choice (by the way, no one really knows about the procedure whereby High Court judges are selected in Singapore).

Readers may know that my position is different. As earlier essays indicated, I believe in total abolition; to me, taking a life is morally wrong, even if it’s a state doing it. (In this respect my position is wholly in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church, even as I vehemently disagree with it over homosexuality.) In this Part 1, however, I will confine myself to a discussion of the mandatory-abolitionist side of the issue.

In the absence of progress on the mandatory-abolition front, activists such as those connected with The Online Citizen, push for presidential clemency (sometimes worded as presidential pardon, which further confuses the issue, since the word “pardon” implies forgiveness of the crime). Unfortunately, pushing for clemency necessitates a narrowing of the issue from the general to the specific. It will strike many as meaningless to argue for an across-the-board clemency for everyone sentenced to death, so one has to pick particular cases to make the clemency argument for.

This has the advantage of humanising the question of capital punishment, a powerful factor in getting people involved; on the other hand, it has the disadvantage of leaving proponents open to a charge of selectivity: Why are you choosing to campaign for one and not for the other? This charge of arbitrariness is difficult to shake off.

One way around that is to push for a moratorium on the death penalty, in other words, clemency for all. But many in the mandatory-abolition camp would not want to go so far, because they actually do believe in the death penalty for some crimes and some perpetrators. Since they do not adopt an in-principle disapproval of capital punishment, they cannot support a moratorium. In fact, nobody has so far argued for a moratorium in Singapore and that is why I don’t even show it in the diagram above.

The question of presidential clemency has recently led to the question of whether the president has any discretion to grant clemency. This matter of presidential powers has recently taken centre-stage in the eyes of The Online Citizen.

I fear that those pursuing this argument will take the issue further and further away from the core issue of capital punishment. I for one think we can well leave the matter of presidential discretion alone and accept the recent court ruling by Justice Steven Chong that the president must act on the advice of the cabinet. To me, it is not obvious that whoever occupies the presidential chair must necessarily be more inclined to be compassionate than the cabinet, so why push for discretion to be given to the president?

Of course, I can understand the argument that in the case of the young Malaysian Yong Vui Kong on death row, there have been complications in that, in response to an earlier appeal for clemency, the president had refused to grant it, and presumably this was on the advice of the cabinet. So in his particular case, it may help to argue for the president to have discretion when a new appeal for clemency reaches him.

But I have serious reservations about trying to bend the general to fit the particular.

This is not to say that campaigning for clemency for Yong is to be scaled back in any way. Not at all. What it does mean is to avoid piling on other issues such as constitutional questions, but instead directing the clemency arguments to the cabinet.

In Part 2, I will focus on total abolition, and in Part 3, I will consider the additional issues brought on by the government’s reaction to an emerging shift in social opinion.

26 Responses to “Sleeping with strangers, part 1”


  1. 1 Andrew Loh 21 August 2010 at 13:55

    I agree with you, Alex, that the issue of the death penalty has taken on more dimensions than perhaps we initially thought it would. However, this – on hindsight – should not be unexpected, given that there is the on-going case of Vui Kong, the release of Alan Shadrake’s book and the charges brought against him, and also the involvement of activists on the Malaysian side of the fence.

    What is important to me, at least for now, is that more people are talking about the death penalty – whatever aspects of it that they’re talking about. It’s better than no one talking about anything about the death penalty.

    So, I see the current discourse as a step forward, even as we may disagree on the particular.

  2. 2 Bystander 21 August 2010 at 17:35

    The Online Citizen, push for presidential clemency (sometimes worded as presidential pardon, which further confuses the issue, since the word “pardon” implies forgiveness of the crime).

    Great work Alex. Personally, I felt theonlinecitizen confused everyone; I like to support VK. But with toc driving this along with their happy go lucky censor team cutting off so many people from posting . It is difficult to make an informed decision.

    With you driving this Alex, things are much clearer and better . Thxs

  3. 3 loupargeer 21 August 2010 at 17:58

    “What is important to me, at least for now, is that more people are talking about the death penalty – whatever aspects of it that they’re talking about. It’s better than no one talking about anything about the death penalty.”

    he does not seem to understand, it is not the quantity of talk, but rather the quality and the direction which it should be going that makes all the difference.

    This write up clears up many issues. And will go a very long way to assist many who may wish to seek to engage the MDP on a meaningful basis. And not just, “talking about,” it.

  4. 4 Locke liberal 21 August 2010 at 21:22

    Dear Alex

    My views are diametrically opposite from yours n from that perspective I would argue that there is no camapign against the DP or MDP but rather a campaign to save Vui Kong or to extend his life by any legal means or justification or through public pressure through the rallying cry of Injustice. When Vui Kong was facing his first appeal, they supported him at speakers, when he was appealing against the mdp they campaigned against the mdp at speakers, when there was a campign in Malaysia collecting signatures they supported likewise at speakers and when they disagreed withnthe decision against justice change they to campaigned today at speakers likewise next week I expect ravi to take the same issue across the causeway

    Ek

    • 5 Robox 22 August 2010 at 06:28

      “…I would argue that there is no camapign against the DP or MDP but rather a campaign to save Vui Kong…”

      So any success, law-based or otherwise, that could be accomplished in Vui Kong’s case in particular is unlikely to set legal and other precedents in all future cases?

      If yes, how is that NOT any anti-DP or -MDP campaign, lockeliberal?

  5. 6 Robox 22 August 2010 at 00:25

    “The chief bifurcation at the moment is between those who stand for total abolition of the death penalty and those who argue for merely the discontinuation of the mandatory death penalty, leaving the decision in the hands of a judge.”

    For the record, I am for the total abolition of the death penalty.

    Having said that, I recognize that the legal arguments against the mandatory death penalty, exposing the true gravity of the issue, are stronger and might explain why the anti-MDP campaigners seem to have greater support. My opinion is that it could also serve as a starting point for some people to eventually see the gravity of any death sentence, and throw their support for that as well.

  6. 7 Robox 22 August 2010 at 00:37

    As for the issue having taken on many dimensions, I feel it is a good development because this issue is indeed as multi-faceted as the various stages of a ‘signature case’ reveal. We can only have a more wholistic understanding of the issue; wholistic strategizing cannot be far behind.

    Indeed, when the first rumbles of the gay rights issue were being heard, I couldn’t help feeling that Singaporeans initially viewed it as a simple matter, almost as if it were simply an “application” by LGBTs for a licence for sex orgies unimpeded by the law. Then look what happened. And like the gay rights issue, I see the death penalty one as having the potential to impact on other issues as well.

    Nevertheless, thank you for your effort in organizing this complex issue into this three-parter.

    I look forward to parts 2 and 3.

  7. 8 Robox 22 August 2010 at 00:50

    “…presidential clemency [sometimes worded as presidential pardon,…further confuses the issue, since the word “pardon” implies forgiveness of the crime].”

    I saw your comment on Siew Kum Hong’s blog regarding the conflation of the two terms and it prompted me to take another look at what is written in Article 222P of the Constitution.

    First, only “pardon” and not “clemency” is used in this Article.

    Additonally,22P(1)(c) states, “The President, as occasion shall arise, may, on the advice of the Cabinet, remit the whole or any part of such sentence or of any penalty or forfeiture imposed by law.”

    Thus it would appear that the legal definition of “pardon” covers both the common usage of “pardon” as well as “clemency” because the President is empowered to remit a sentence in whole (or “grant a pardon” or “forgiveness of the crime”) or in part (or “grant clemency”).

  8. 9 Pritam Singh 22 August 2010 at 01:09

    An informative and thoughtful piece as usual Alex. Much appreciated.

    I see the problem of the death penalty / MDP through the lenses of politics. It is also virtually impossible to make a strong argument against the principled position of total abolition of the death penalty. My fundamental point is whether this position is politically “sell-able” in Singapore given the existing state of affairs. Hence, my view that the doing away with the MDP actually will increase the prospects of more principled judgments viz. drug offences.

    Thank you for putting out these issues, something the government managed mainstream media should have considered their responsibility.

    Best, pritam

  9. 10 Robox 22 August 2010 at 01:24

    “The question of presidential clemency has recently led to the question of whether the president has any discretion to grant clemency.”

    Again, this is a reaction to another comment that you made on Siew’s blog comparing the President’s functions to those of the Queen of England and justifying – I hope I am not misinterpreting your intentions here – the rubber stamp nature of the President.

    This is a nugget from history.

    In 1861, when the original anti-gay Bill that discriminated against both male and female homosexuality went to the then reigning monarch, Queen Victoria for Royal Assent, she made a dramatic about turn on what was perceived as her role as a rubber stamp and rejected the Bill.

    Reason: She couldn’t beleve that any woman could be attracted to another one.

    The Bill was then sent back to Parliament to be reworded so that only male homosexuals were discriminated against in the Bill, later becoming the legacy in the entire Commonwealth. Needless to say, Royal Assent was given and the Bill became law.

    The point I am making is that like the Queen, the President, even if he is purely a titular head like the Queen which isn’t the case in Singapore, does have the discretion to check against the Cabinet (or Parliament) in the functions stipulated in the Constitution. From the wording of Article 22P, the description of the process of granting pardons, and very importantly, that this is called a “Presidential Pardon” (which is a “spirit of the law” argument and is reflective of the framer’s intention), it would seeem that the President does has the discretion in the granting of pardons as well.

    But it is more likely to be only if he badly wants to. (I am trying to dispel the notion that has been introduced by someone in the TOC discussion that the Cabinet’s advice is legally binding on the President.)

  10. 11 Alan Wong 22 August 2010 at 09:50

    I have read somewhere in the net that for those accused who are charged with possession of 14.99g of heroin (where the amount found in their possession is actually higher), it is the Public Persecutor (or Attorney General or Law Minister or God knows who ?) who shall decide whether to charge them with the MDP after considering the mitigating circumstances of each case.

    As you have correctly said it, the PP (or whoever he is representing) now becomes the Fairy God Mother and not the presiding judge who shall rightfully decide on each mitigating factor of each case. In short, our Executive has removed one of the most important role that is reserved for our impartial judges and in the process maybe placed them in the hands of someone working behind the scenes. Now isn’t this mean that a very powerful tool that can be manipulated or abused to one’s advantage ?

    The Law Minister has questioned what message do we want to send to the drug barons if young mules like Yong is to be pardoned ? Does our learned Law Minister not know the meaning of true compassion and mitigation in sentencing ?

    What about those capital punishment cases where suspects are sometimes set free due to some special mitigating factors, why are our judges given some leeway to give the benefit of doubt to the accused ? What is the message that these judges are sending, may I likewise ask our learned but inhumane Law Minister ?

  11. 12 Mat Alamak 22 August 2010 at 10:03

    I remember some years back, lawyer Ravi was also similarly fighting a case for a death row inmate being rejected Presidential clemency and hanged shortly after.

    The Strait Times then published some comments from various people on what they thought of lawyer Ravi’s actions.

    One comment from a lawyer particularly stood out and was something like this.

    “The presidential clemency cannot be challenged in court and what Ravi was doing was not only foolish but also cruel by giving them (the condemned and their family) false hope.”

  12. 13 Robert L 22 August 2010 at 13:25

    Dear YB

    Thank you for this article.

    You have mentioned “pardon” and “clemency” a few times. I wish you had also included “commute to life-imprisonment”.

    You might imagine that must be obvious, but let me put up an example.

    When the Minister said that granting a pardon to Yong VK would send the wrong signal and encourage the drugs syndicates to send the young and vulnerable to run as mules, not many people objected. It’s only after reading your article when I realise that the word “pardon” had blinkered me. If the Minister had said “pardon and commute to life-imprisonment”, it would have made his assertion terribly shaky. I dare say the internet would be filled with objections ridiculing what he said.

    So whenever anybody argues against the pardon, we should always remind each other that it’s a commutation to life-imprisonment. Thank you very much.

    On another point, quite apart from the above, what troubles me the most about death penalty for drugs cases is that it’s a man-made law and one that’s seriously far from universal acceptance. Especially our benchmark of 15g heroin which is completely stratospheric in logic (possession = traffiking). Man-made laws can change in the future (look at the slavery laws), but a person put to death by the State cannot have his life resurrected when archaic laws are rescinded.

    Even those people who are strongly in support of the death sentence for a harden criminal, a grown man, with multiple arrest records, guilty of traffiking 1kg of heroin, would conceivably look favourably on a pardon for a youth not yet old enough to sign a legal document, a first offender, caught with a mere 47g of heroin. That’s three strong mitigating factors. And remember – pardon still means life-sentence, thank you very much.

  13. 14 George 22 August 2010 at 15:03

    “a youth not yet old enough to sign a legal document, a first offender”

    At 19 when he was arrested, realistically how many times could he possibly had done it (presuming that was not his first)? There is no evidence it wasn’t his first, although I thought I read allegations to that effect. Even then is such an allegation acceptable in law? It carries weight? By what process of the law?

    The whole case (and similar cases in the past) simply underscores the gross cruelty and inhumanity of the current law. Technically, if someone is caught on his/her 19th birthday, the full weight of the MDP would apply. Like the 15 grams law, the age of 18 is an entirely ARBITRARY AND ARTIFICIAL concept. Likewise, the finest of line between 14.99 and 15 and hence between life and death. The precision

  14. 15 George 22 August 2010 at 15:07

    The precision is purely artificial, a matter of convenience. Yet, someone’s fate literally, hangs in the balance, resting entirely on that 0.01 gm difference! Can there be a greater manipulation!

  15. 16 KiWeTO 22 August 2010 at 19:45

    I do not know too much about the facts of the case. Since no one seems to be talking about the facts of the case, I am presuming that it is undeniable that he broke the law whilst a mandatory death penalty exists. (and its now consequent outcome at sentencing)

    However, Seeking change for the law whilst rallying around a specific case to me, at one level, smacks of opportunism. (then again, that is more of a charge leveled at media today.)

    A moratorium for x period of time whilst we as a society (not just as a government) seek to re-determine our concept of the value of a life and the negative value of its transgressions against the same society should be the objective outcome of those campaigning to “save” Voi Kong.

    Else, anything other than the status quo decision would be a knee-jerk outcome that would do more harm than good to the long-term discussion about why we have a MDP and its usefulness to our ‘yet-enlightened’ society.

    The war on drugs has been a futile failure.
    Like America’s Prohibition.

    What be the next step in saving people from themselves. Trust them to take care of themselves? Who has to pay to deal with any fallout?

    E.o.M.
    [I am still neither pro or anti DeathPenalty – How does one truly measure its deterrence effect? Everything contains bias!

    Can we revive exile as an option? Hard labour for life in Siberia? A life of clearing rubbish from our beaches? What sins against society are truly heinous and deserving of ultimate sanction?]

  16. 17 rojakgirl 22 August 2010 at 20:32

    My stand on the death penalty is this:

    Death for the warlords, the druglords and the ones who manufacture arms(because these people really deserve to be hanged). I wonder why terrorists are not given the death penalty when their involvement in planning and execution of certain plans often lead to many deaths and widespread suffering(when their plans succeed: ie, the bomb detonates). Does a death from a bomb carry less weight than a death from taking drugs?

    As for the finer details about the drug penalty, I have not really figured that one out completely yet.

    Also, if anyone still has not signed the petition to save Yong Vui Kong, please do so:

    petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?SaveVK

    Thank you!

  17. 18 yawningbread 22 August 2010 at 21:15

    Rojakgirl wrote: “Death for the warlords, the druglords and the ones who manufacture arms(because these people really deserve to be hanged)”

    Does that prescription include:
    1. Shareholders and executives of tobacco companies?
    2. Shareholders and executives of breweries and liquor companies?
    3. Shareholders and executives of Chartered Industries, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings?

    • 19 rojakgirl 25 August 2010 at 01:39

      No, as several posters have noted: smoking and even drinking is usually done for recreation and alcohol is also used for many purposes. How many of us actually add rice wine or other types of alcohol to our food when cooking? That’s one way of using alcohol. And there’s even alcohol added to chocolate, beauty products or even medical products for consumption, cleaning or disinfection purposes and so on. It’s only when alcohol is drunk in copious amounts(enough to impact your cognitive skills) that it becomes more of a nuisance than just some “recreational tool”.

      For drugs: I’m probably splitting hairs since I know that codeine(used for certain cough syrups like Procodin) is produced from poppy and that heroin is also produced from the poppy plant(opium). So, I’m for certain plants being used only for legalized purposes and I will leave the discussion of this topic to another time.

      Still, I’m very very well aware that certain dosages of legal drugs can also produce psychoactive and hallucinatory effects. Like chlorpromazine or even lorazepam. Hence the controlled dosage by hospitals and the like.

      And to complicate matters, I also know that abuse of legalized drugs does exist: too many painkillers and so on.

      Oops, correct that to “illicit arms production”. I do not see the need to allow gangs or even warlords to manufacture their arms(that ends up killing tens to hundreds of thousands or even millions). But then again, I guess it is also the circumstances that allow such madmen to gain stronghold and to rise into power. I guess it is also the question of: just what are the police, armies and even the legal aspects of the governments doing? Is it a question of funding, poor equipment, poor morale, internal disputes, etc. that stops them from co-operating and cracking down on such people? And so on.

      I also do not see the need to allow arms trading routes to exist and also, I have heard that money laundering is somewhat connected to arms trafficking. I’m not sure why, must research one day.

      I do realize that at times, arms produced for legal purposes are stolen and resold or repossessed or even seized by invading militia or private armies. Not sure of the amount and type though because I do not know of any decent and accurate data source about arms trafficking, black market sectors in various countries and so on. Might not be too accurate as this is over 10 to 20 years old: I did read as a child or teenager from Reader’s Digest or National Geographic that Russian soldiers used to secretly resell weapons, equipment and ammunition from their army’s storage.
      And this probably included lowly soldiers, commandos and even somewhat high-ranking soldiers because they were often not paid for months or even years.

      Note: I’m not against usage of arms and equipment for the country’s defensive purposes. I see nothing wrong with equipping a country properly so it can put up a good fight when facing the enemy chickens.

      Err… excuse my poor English and poor construction of sentences. My medicine still has not worn off and I find my cognitive and memory skills have been badly impacted.

  18. 20 Mat Alamak 23 August 2010 at 08:08

    Yawningbread 22 August 2010 at 21:15

    Does that mean that cars, trucks and buses also have to be banned because they can cause pollution and fatal accidents?

    Products of tobacco, brewery and liquor companies are certainly not good for the health, but it is a form of release, relaxation, enjoyment or even entertainment if taken in moderation. Just like salty, fatty and processed foods or meat from hormone injected animals. Or air and water pollution due to modernisation. Although not healthy, it is definitely far from being as dangerous as heroine, cannabis or cocaine, which are totally bad and without any positive aspects. It is a matter of moderation and control (eg warnings, education and high taxes, etc on such products to discourage usage, switch to cleaner alternatives, effective pollution control methods, etc)

    As regards arms manufacturers, they serve a noble cause to equip the army and the police to fight and defend against bad elements, internal or external. Isn’t this noble if used appropriately?

  19. 21 George 23 August 2010 at 08:40

    ‘ Although not healthy, it is definitely far from being as dangerous as heroine, cannabis or cocaine, which are totally bad and without any positive aspects.’

    Do we know the origins of these drugs? Some South American people chew coca leaves from which cocaine is derived as a ‘pick me up’ living in an arduous environment. Heroine is diamorphine – something without medical use but comes from the same plant that gives us morphine – important im medical palliative care. I supposed hemp/cannabis falls in the same usage class as coca.

    The issue is of course their habituating/craving effects on users – like tobacco. Which is the down side.

  20. 22 George 23 August 2010 at 09:07

    Alex,

    I supposed it depends on how debilitating and crippling an effect they will have on individuals and groups/societies.

    The entire hard drugs issue turn on this point and the ease with which they turn people into addicts. Alcohol and tobacco are also additive but they have been accepted at the highest level of social interaction. They do damage the users but in a manner that is not overwhelming or as destructive as hard drugs. They don’t take hold/control of a person (at least for the vast majority) in such a way that they cannot function as individuals and in the larger context, society.

    Maybe it is the pressure, and contradictorily also the humdrum of modern life that drives some to resort to drugs as an escape.

    There is a need or weakness in the genetic makeup of people (and animals) to crave which cannot be weaned without threatening survival. I believe it is the same ‘instinct’ or at least related to that drive/need that makes animals like deers and elephants for example in the wilds to seek out salt licks or for lions to go for the stomach contents of their herbivore preys.

  21. 23 George 23 August 2010 at 09:30

    Alex,
    The developed brain is also the bane of human beings/civilization. Carnivores in the wild kill for survival and only just enough to satisfy the immediate craving of hunger. But Man becomes civilized only by virtue of his ability to plan ahead of needs – this from the ‘mundane’ activities of growing crops, storing food and how to preserve it to a more highly sophisticated skill of keep groups together which involves discipline, structure and rules and regulations. Now from all these needs and endeavors (and more) flows lots and lots of things including a scheme of preventive activitiess to discourage ‘anti-social’ behaviour or of things that threaten. In the extreme, people are quartered, racked, burnt, beheaded, hanged, tortured, drowned, disembowled, throttled, have their flesh cut from their living bodies, strip by strip etc to exact the most horrifying effect for the rest.

    Weapons of war are but an extension of this philosophy…

  22. 24 blind man 23 August 2010 at 11:28

    Main problem here is nobody talks to each other anymore in blogosphere. Most of them are in their own island of opinions. To make things worse. The supply of information is getting more restricted. TOC has begun censoring many comments in their site for no apparent reason. The Singaporedaily no longer aggregates some sites that hold different POV. And some sites like TR have even started to offer us all very little as the news of the day.

    The problem as I see it has to do with information. Less information. Less opportunity to make an informed opinion. A good place to start is with Siew Kum Hong write up. Over there he does a good job of highlighting the actual and perceived power of the president. He also goes some way to explain some of the things that you have mentioned here. Another good site that I will recommend is dotseng. Over there she lays out the main conceptual differences that drive many of these ideas. And how one may relate to the other.

    I would seriously recommend these sites to those who wish to know more about the subject of the death penalty.

  23. 25 blind man 23 August 2010 at 11:31

    I would also recommend the new aggregator site Singazine. They seem to do a very good job of collecting a wide selection of views in Singapore. I hope this helps. Remember keep the flow of information open and not closed.

  24. 26 Kelly 24 August 2010 at 17:01

    I love your infographics.


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