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Saturday, November 08, 2003
Random post on non-American politics

Hi again. I haven't been here in a while. I should be writing a Donne paper for my English freshman seminar (it may be Donne but I still have to Do it) but I'm pointedly distracting myself.

Excerpt from transcript of BBC HARDtalk interview with PM Goh Chok Tong, aired September 23, 2003

(BBC's Tim Sebastian): "(Human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson)
says one of the great ironies is how Singapore's Internal Security
Directorate concentrates on prosecuting liberals instead of worrying
about the people who are running unlawful arms and explosive
shipments which would cost hundreds of lives in the region."

Mr Goh: "No, that's not so. The Internal Security Act has not been
used against the liberals. I mean, you have so many of them running
around in Singapore. They are free to air their views. They are not

Mr Sebastian: "They are not free to air every view that they want,
are they?"

Mr Goh: "No. They are (free)."

Mr Sebastian: "You need to get a police permit for more than five
people to assemble."

Mr Goh: "Within the law, within the law, yes, you have to do that."

Mr Sebastian: "And the permits are often turned down."

Mr Goh: "Yes."

Mr Sebastian: "Aren't they?"

Mr Goh: "Yes."

Mr Sebastian: "So that's not exactly freedom of expression, is it?"

Mr Goh: "No. That's freedom because it depends on your definition.
In our case, the laws have been there all the time and it is for the
parties concerned to change the laws if they win the elections. So
they've got to convince the people that we are wrong and they are

I spy with my little eye a tiny difficulty in that last sentence. It's a lot harder than PM Goh makes it sound, to 'convince the people that (the PAP is) wrong and (the opposition is) right'. Particularly if you as an opposition party are not allowed to assemble with more than five people in a public place. What other (cheap easy speedy) means do you have of convincing the populace at large?