In the Lion City, Americans would find a more sophisticated form of dictatorship, a sort of dictatorship with a double latte. Dissent is crushed not with violence on the streets but with verdicts in the courtroom. Opposition candidates rarely garner enough votes because Singaporean law, written by PAP legislators, renders it easy for government officers to sue their own citizens for slander -- a concept laughable in genuine democracies. Understandably, most Singaporeans prefer to remain silent (or at least temper their criticisms) than risk having their lives ruined by PAP-initiated lawsuits adjudicated by PAP-appointed judges.
But intolerance for dissent silences more than just the lions in Singapore. It also renders Singaporeans invisible abroad.
Singaporeans I've met here in Los Angeles are mostly good-natured people, speaking unaccented English and enjoying successful lives. But while exemplifying the American dream, they're also a people who seem painfully ordinary and unwanting of attention -- like those desperately trying to avoid eye contact.
Jun 15, 2005
Hear the lion roar?
nathanroad gives his thoughts on how the overseas Singaporean is perceived by foreigners (Americans in his case): quiet, apolitical, content to fade into obscurity - a product of decades-long oppression of dissent and alternative views in this "Disneyland with a death penalty". Hear the lion roar? The silence is disturbingly deafening.