Mar 20, 2007

Just A Little Cartoon



... to go with my recent post.

74 comments:

Anonymous said...

But then again... don't Christians and their groups also have the right to lobby and fight for their own viewpoints, beliefs, convictions, just as much as you and me and the lesbian/gay groups or the environmental activists or the etc etc

More on this?

South Paw said...

*GASP*
I am south paw, Mr Wang, what are you trying to insinuate?

Nice comic for illustration. It wasn't on the straits times was it?

Anonymous said...

yeah of course christians can fight for their viewpoints, they just dont have the rights to force it on others via influencing govt laws/policy.

I dont see muslims pressing for all non-muslim males to be circumcised by law.

I also dont see hindus demanding legislation to ban beef to non-hindus.

whybegay said...

Mr Wang,

using the left hand to write is natural. But there is no evidence that being homosexual/lesbian is natural.

le radical galoisien said...

"they just dont have the rights to force it on others via influencing govt laws/policy."

Why not? Are you saying their views should be censored? Should we throw church leaders in jail every time they make a suggestion to lawmakers? Torture them, perhaps? Why shouldn't religious groups get freedom of speech just like we do?

Why shouldn't one have the right to lobby for legislation? Constitutionality is another thing.

Anonymous said...

People are free to express their views. However, when people attempt to change the law to be compliant with their religious beliefs, then it is an entirely different matter.

Would non-muslims be happy if a group of muslims petition the govt to ban the consumption of pork?

Anonymous said...

Being a left-hander is accepted as being natural now only because the society is more modern, civilized and educated, thus we know that the ancient prejudice about how going against the norm to become a left-hander is being unnatural and evil is no longer true. Although there is no concrete evidence now that being homosexual or lesbian is considered natural, but can you guarantee that tens or even hundreds of years down the road, this would still be the case? So those who don’t understand this had totally missed the point of the comic.

I would definitely agree that those freaking extremist should just keep their views to their own church preaching than to try to campaign their own views to be legalized as a law that everyone must abide. I am very sure that if they don’t try to enforce it on everyone else, no one would argue that this is their own right and freedom to their belief.

But as some had already mentioned, it is a totally different story if these group of people are trying to ‘abuse’ their freedom of speech to enforce their own views as a law of a nation that EVERYONE must obey. The ban on Pork consumption scenario stated above would be the perfect illustration on why such action is so wrong.

If you can’t see anything wrong with this, then you don’t really understand the true meaning of having a right to legislation in a supposed free and democratic nation. You can’t differentiate what is fighting for your right and voicing your views and what is abusing your right to enforce your views on others.

Personally I am neither a gay nor even a supporter of such lifestyle. But I can respect that this lifestyle would be a choice of an individual and it would be just plain wrong to discriminate them as a human being and even trying to make a criminal out of them.

Anthony said...

"using the left hand to write is natural. But there is no evidence that being homosexual/lesbian is natural. "

Anyone else find this statement particularly ironic?

~[z][x]~ said...

Being a left-hander is accepted as being natural now only because the society is more modern, civilized and educated, thus we know that the ancient prejudice about how going against the norm to become a left-hander is being unnatural and evil is no longer true. Although there is no concrete evidence now that being homosexual or lesbian is considered natural, but can you guarantee that tens or even hundreds of years down the road, this would still be the case? So those who don’t understand this had totally missed the point of the comic.

Hmm but that would be appealing to the future which is actually not a good way to argue. I would put it differently. I would think that every act or behaviour, that does not cause any harm to a 3rd party, should be considered natural and permitted in the private space of 2 individuals unless proven otherwise.

Therefore, as many have tried to put across to WBG, the burden of proof is on him (and anti-gays) to prove that homosexuality is unnatural.

~[z][x]~ said...

Anthony, it's extremely. But on this fellow, we've given up.

whybegay said...

Too much wishful thinking,

it is the minority homosexuals/lesbians who want their habits to be seen as normal and accepted by the majority, who has the huge burden of proof to make themselves accepted by the rest.

a christian said...

I'm sure that Jesus would accept them and love them. So I do too.

akikonomu said...

Christians have a right to free speech.

But no group has a right to dictate state policy to the exclusion of the sensibilities of others.

le radical galoisien said...

"You can’t differentiate what is fighting for your right and voicing your views and what is abusing your right to enforce your views on others."

On the contrary, YOU don't understand the principle of democracy.

Citizens and organisations have the right to lobby for any law they want. It's called freedom of speech.

Freedom of speech comes into play when I am willing to die for your right to say it, even though I find your speech absolutely bigoted and disgusting.

Lobbying for a law is one thing. Getting it passed in parliament is another.

Suppose the hypothetical Muslim group proposed a referendum (fat chance in Singapore, but bear with me). It passes with a majority. Then that would say that the majority of Singaporeans believed in their rhetoric, perhaps if they campaigned not only as a religious issue but also for the health effects.

Of course, it is unlikely to happen. You see, you have missed the other side of freedom of speech. The freedom to rebuttal. Activist groups always have the right to lobby for whatever they want, even a religious group. However, there are bound to be citizens who will counterlobby against it. This inspires debate, and the issue is resolved via public debate. This is what freedom of speech is all about.

The PAP has taken this away so there is no debate in lawmaking, we can complain to the taxi driver, but lobbying is not a characteristic of the Singapore Parliament.

The issue I see, is having small privileged minority groups having an unfair influence in the government - e.g. they don't need to campaign, they just need to use their own existing power on members within the government.

"However, when people attempt to change the law to be compliant with their religious beliefs, then it is an entirely different matter."

Please tell me what is the FUCKING point about freedom of speech if you are restricted from lobbying for or against a law? You do sound like Bhavani so.

"Abuse of freedom of speech". Wah, you can become government Squealer already ah. Of course Singaporeans got freedom of speech! Just a little abridged one!

(Note this is all different from the frequently cited US Supreme Court example of shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre; but lobbying is not fraud, blackmail or deceit, for example)

'you may speak dear, but not against our laws, ah, otherwise you threaten racial harmony you know!'

What is an abuse of freedom of speech?

* harassment
* blackmail
* criminal menacing and threats
* fraud
* confidence trickery
* endangering public safety
* treason

Those are abuses of freedom of speech. I don't see "lobbying" up there. That's because freedom of speech always had lobbying in mind! That is one of the purposes of the freedom: "to petition the government."

It appears that you don't even know what basic civil liberties are all about. Shame on you.

I'd rather whatever groups speak out, speak out, and express their true intentions, then to have sentiments bottled up inside and for there to be little public debate, everyone suspicious of each other.

Perhaps sometimes you find religious groups' lobbying ridiculous. Like the ones in the US proposing Intelligent Design or whatever. But why do you think they "don't have the right" to lobby?

"I would definitely agree that those freaking extremist should just keep their views to their own church preaching than to try to campaign their own views to be legalized as a law that everyone must abide. I am very sure that if they don’t try to enforce it on everyone else, no one would argue that this is their own right and freedom to their belief."

Please take a course in Democracy 101. Your ignorance of democratic principles astounds me.

How do you legally judge "freaking extremist"? Where does one draw the line? So if I decided to empathise slightly with "extremist" views, whether I don't know, they be socialist, Christian, Muslim, libertarian or whatever (libertarians very dangerous you know! Want to reduce the size of gahmen!), should I be barred from lobbying my filthy and digusting radical views?

The moment you grant the government that power, the moment you say, "oh they don't have the right", then you have effectively started a slippery slope to erode all civil liberty. Congratulations.

It's because of people like you that we have those civil liberties taken away in the first place.

"it is a totally different story if these group of people are trying to ‘abuse’ their freedom of speech to enforce their own views as a law of a nation that EVERYONE must obey."

No, it's not. That isn't an abuse of freedom of speech. You horrify me. Yes, you may find their speech irritating, ignorant and disgusting, but that's a different story. That's what you ridicule. That's what you bring up in public debate, "what in the world is that religious group thinking?!" and the whole world promptly laughs at it.

Take for example, the racist bloggers. Very disgusting one. Absolutely filthy views. But would you say you advocate the death penalty for them, perhaps? Or some form of punishment, for their hate speech? Is "hate speech" an abuse of the freedom of speech? Where do you draw the line? Nay, there is another means.

Democracy has a weapon against ludicrous speech and lobbying: counterspeech, counterlobbying. This is what you Singaporeans don't understand. You don't need any fucking laws curbing freedom of speech in order to safeguard racial harmony - I note when the racist blogger incident occurred, countless Singaporeans proceeded to blast the racist bloggers out of the sky. Verbally.

That, is their punishment for their ludicrous speech.

But you, propose that we implement even more limits on freedom of speech. Ban religious groups from lobbying. Is that it?

"You can’t differentiate what is fighting for your right and voicing your views and what is abusing your right to enforce your views on others."

Rather, it is you who does not understand. When someone lobbies for law, they are not "enforcing their views on others" - they are fighting and campaigning to pass a law that will make such enforcements perhaps, but that is a key difference. They are not going out with private armies and telling people to believe or else.

Please tell me, where do you draw the line? If I advocate the implementation of national service reform to reduce length but at the same time include females for instance, am I "enforcing my views" on all the others? I genuinely believe that such reforms are the solution.

But according to your principles of democracy, you would say I am "abusing my right" to freedom of speech and you would perhaps have me arrested. That is what would happen, according to your flawed conception of democracy. What is the difference between fighting for a law and enforcing my beliefs on others?

Whenever we speak, or argue, or debate, we are always enforcing our beliefs or others. That's why we make arguments, make debate. That is what rhetoric is all about.

That is what lobbying is all about - fighting to convince. You see, generally to get a law passed by lobbying, you often have to convince voters (or perhaps just the MPs - this is a flaw of Singapore democracy that needs to be changed).

But ideally, they are not "enforcing their views on others" because they need to get others (generally a majority) to agree in order to get their law passed in the first place (if the initiative took place by referendum).

"then you don’t really understand the true meaning of having a right to legislation in a supposed free and democratic nation."

irony++

le radical galoisien said...

"But no group has a right to dictate state policy to the exclusion of the sensibilities of others."

Please tell me how lobbying is "dictating state policy".

"Exclusion of the sensibilities of others" is a brilliantly horrible Romance euphemism. What a mouthful of Latin. I think Orwell would have something to say on the matter.

As a multiculturalist TCK, I find racism especially horrid for example. Perhaps they exclude "my sensibilties", whatever that means. Again, the racist blogger example: disgusting hate speech.

But do I say "they don't have the right to write such things on their blogs?!"

Would you say, "why don't they just keep their remarks to themselves?", just like you people are saying the religious organisations should keep their beliefs to themselves within the church? I quote the comment, "those freaking extremist should just keep their views to their own church preaching."

You say they don't have the right. What do you advocate? Torture? Jail time? Arrest? A fine? Every time I advocate a policy someone in the bureaucracy judges to be "dictating state policy and excluding the sensibilities of others" (whatever that means), perhaps I should receive a 500 dollar fine, or get Corrective Work Order?

YOU would support the death penalty against those filthy racist bloggers, perhaps? "They don't have the right! They don't have the right!"

Y'all have utterly missed the point about what freedom of speech is. I quote the First Amendment of the US (not our constitution, but a good model):

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance"

Please tell me how a religious group's lobbying is an "abuse of freedom of speech". Because you see, "petition the Government for a redress of a grievance" (basically lobbying for a bill or a law) is explicitly protected. It doesn't matter how outrageous you find the proposal. Defeat that law in debate. (You probably don't even have to lift a finger). Blast the bigots verbally to kingdom come.

But oh ho, even though I find some speech disgusting, I will defend people's right to say it. That is the principle of freedom of speech - when you would die for someone's ability to speak, assemble, petition the government, or whatever, even though you find their views totally disgusting.

Would you? If you don't, then you do not believe in liberty after all. Or at least you would be content to live in slavery, anyhow.

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

In a way Le Radical Galoisien is right. People have a right to lobby for their pet ideas. However, this simple characterisation of the debate obscures two features.

1. The two sides of the argument are not equivalent. The fundamentalist Christian side essentially wants to create conditions to coerce people into becoming heterosexual on pain of penalties. The gay rights side does NOT seek to coerce people into becoming homosexual on pain of penalties.

One side denies civil liberties to others; the other side seeks civil liberties for itself.

2. The Christian fundamentalist argument is essentially built upon a sectarian reasoning that cannot be traced back to secular reasoning that is aimed at the public good. Their case stops at the point where "we believe so" or "the Bible says so".

This is as if a group of people earning between $120K and $150K a year were to lobby the government to increase tax rates for those outside their income band, and reduce tax rates for their own band, with the reasoning that "their god tells them this is the right thing".

As a result, it should be no surprise that people will urge the court of public opinion to dismiss those arguments as without merit.

Is dismissal of arguments essentially the same thing as saying "you have no right to make that kind of argument"? In that case, is this debate about freedom of speech here no more than semantics?

Elizabeth Chia said...

To those wish to be heterosexual,

Do not be deceived by the cartoon. Homosexuality is not a natural state. It is not innate and can be changed. This is not something fabricated by the church but comes from the very person who, many years ago, came up with a new definition of mental illness that made it possible to exclude homosexuality as a disorder.

http://www.pfox.org/

Now he is challenging the claim that homosexuality is normal. Listen to the person himself and explore the following website which openend my eyes to the falsehood that homosexuality is natural which is based on what the APA published years ago (~1973),

The falsehood has since been dispelled by Prof. Robert L. Spitzer himself who is not a christian.

http://pfox.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=26&sid=2493a09af40e5de40b9fa5260d8de659

His detailed presentation is found in the same forum of the website under "Science".

Please do not be shy to talk about what you wish to change because you are as normal as anyone. It is a disorder that can be treated like any other illness.

From my point of view, society is not against gays and lesbians, but the practices of homosexuality. Yes, it is possible to love a person but disapprove of his/her actions. Life is full of examples of that.

And no, it is not a matter of being living the medieval times as opposed to being in a progressive society. It is not conservative to want to be heterosexual. Neither is it necessarily broad-minded to be liberal.

My best wishes are with you.

cannotsleep said...

Can I ask you guys something?

What do you mean when you define an act as NATURAL or UNNATURAL?

Must an UNNATURAL act be an act that is morally wrong?

Anonymous said...

to anon4.38, i think what elizabeth chia meant was that so long as it is not practised by the majority and not condoned by xtianity, it is NOT natural.

never mind the different animal species that perform homosexual acts IN NATURE, and never mind the manifestations of homosexuality in many different cultures of homo sapien over centuries.

i'm not gay, i just don't see any moral grounds for discriminating against gays.

elizabeth chia said...

Correction,

"normal" in the 3rd para of my preceding comment should be "irreversible". Meaning, it is not a permanent state that cannot be changed.

elizabeth chia said...

Anon March 21, 2007 5:09 PM,

What I meant was:

1. In Singapore's society as a whole, the majority do not support homosexuality (otherwise the current law will be questionable) and they do not necessarily condemn gays and lesbians.

2. I have nothing against the gays lobbying for their rights (although to me, it is just as disgusting and bigoted, but will speak up if they distort or misuse the church's stand in the process. We also have the right to speak up. Other religious groups may not speak up but that mean they are against, or for, homosexuality. They chose not to exercise the right perhaps.

I am straight and do not wish those who want to be heterosexual, to be mislead into thinking that they have no chances of being straight. They are apparently even persecuted in the US for wanting to change. There is every possibly that the same is happening here.

elizabeth chia said...

Pardon me, I seem to be making lots of typographical mistakes today.

Point 2 in my preceding comments should read, "...but that mean they are EITHER against..., NOT JUST FOR HOMOSEXUALITY.

Sorry, I need to use caps as highlights for corrections.

elizabeth chia said...

cannot sleep,

It is not a moral question. It is a question of whether homosexuality is a permanent condition.

I think natural, normal and those other words we are struggling with mean different things to different people. So perhaps, it is best (at least for me) not to use it or explain what we mean when we use it.

I am also not saying that majority is always right but that gays and lesbians should not feel they do not fit or are hated by society just because the majority(?) are against homosexuality.

Hope I have got that cleared.

akikonomu said...

Please tell me how lobbying is "dictating state policy".

When the group is lobbying to change the legislation. Such as criminalising lesbianism.

akikonomu said...

But do I say "they don't have the right to write such things on their blogs?!" and everything else following that...

I believe you're using what's called a non sequitur argument. The issue is about religious groups lobbying the state to institute their moral code into the legal code, to impose their moral standards unto nonbelievers. Please do not try to pretend the issue is about free speech, or that I'm trying to ban religious groups from stating their beliefs loudly.

To wit, Christians are entitled to mouth off what they want, but I personally will get uncomfortable if they should use that freedom of speech to turn their hate campaign against minorities into a state campaign against minorities.

Roger said...

Keep your laws off my body,
Your religion out of my government,
Your hands off my tax money.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

and your roger off my lands

Roger said...

@ anon 10:38 -- I see I hit a bit too close to home.

Keep your laws off my body - If anal intercourse is going to be illegal, you shouldn't be able to do it too. Remember "justice and equality"?

Keep your religion out of my government - Just as how we should not meddle in the religious affairs of fellow Singaporeans, I expect religions to respect the secular state and never, ever to go so far as a outrightly recommend criminalization of acts based on their religious beliefs. Quite frankly, how dare you?!

And your hands off my tax money - Hehe, I just had to add this in for good measure, because I think we are paying our ministers too much. I don't mean we should pay them peanuts... maybe we can pay them sunflower seeds.

@ Elizabeth Chia --

Thanks for approaching the matter sanely. However, I have to disagree with you, because you use insane logic.

You appeal twice to unqualified authority. First, some guy at the website you quoted so supposedly founded homosexuality through classifications/declassification in the APA yada, yada. Your second appeal is to the stance of your church.

Well, please 1) keep your religion out of my(and your) government. 2) understand that appeals to "higher beings" remain appeals to unqualified authority, and 3)classification and/or declassification of homosexuality has no bearing on the evidenced, natural diversity sexual orientations. Sorry!

Yawning Bread Sampler said...

Elizabeth Chia on 21 March 4:04 pm cited the 2001 Robert Spitzer Study to support her case. That study is way less than meets the eye. I gave a detailed report on it in the essay Here's proof that homosexuals can change

More importantly, Spitzer himself absolutely forbids anti-gay lobby groups from misrepresenting his study for their ends.

See also the many cases of people who have claimed to turned straight, revert back to being gay, as described in Ex-gay ministries and the cures that don't work

le radical galoisien said...

Non-sequitir? Perhaps it's just an issue of semantics, but semantics is important, especially when they involve the concept of "right".

I am peeved when people misuse the term because it can potentially mislead others, especially because Singaporeans already have a weak conception of their civil rights.

I observe Singaporeans often have an immature response to speech they don't like (a true democratic culture is not very strong). Verbal ridicule is okay, not prohibition.

You also give lobbying groups too much credit. I still do not see how they are "dictating" state policy.

Anonymous said...

You can't reason with people intoxicated by the rise of Nazism...

You can't reason with people intoxicated by the rise of fundamentalism...

Anonymous said...

Aiyah, why can't we all just live & let live. We only have one life to live & life is too short as it is so live your own life as you see fit & stay the hell out of other people's lives! Who are we to judge? Whats that saying? He who has not sinned let him cast the first stone thingy. At the end of the day we humans are all going to be dust anyway, the equalizer of it all.

Anonymous said...

whybegay,

are you married? have a gf ( i assume you are a guy?) do you have oral sex with your gf or anal sex with your gf? If so, you shouldn't because there are a lot of people find it unnatural.

Anonymous said...

Well, it definitely seems that some people just cannot differentiate between fighting for your right to exercise your freedom of speech and abusing your freedom of speech to enforce your views on others.

By some twisted logic of a few people displayed here who wanted to argue that it is actually okay to lobby for, and thus abusing, legalization to help enforce a certain belief or view on everyone else simply because this is called their right to freedom of speech, it is not surprised why despots like Hitler is able to freely talk his way to power and later start abusing the power he gained from his freedom of speech to enforce Nazism onto the rest of his people. Well done, can you imagine if we had some groups trying to lobby for legalization on allowing racism or enforcing a certain dress code on every Singapore ladies because it is considered obscene or offensive for them to dress too exposed to certain religion group or whatever? After all according to such logic, it would be their freedom of speech or right or whatever and so no one should have the right to say they are wrong or what.

As someone had said, you can’t reason with people intoxicated by the like of Nazism or fundamentalism. Very well said indeed.

akikonomu said...

Non-sequitir? Perhaps it's just an issue of semantics, but semantics is important, especially when they involve the concept of "right".

Y'all have utterly missed the point about what freedom of speech is. I quote the First Amendment of the US (not our constitution, but a good model):

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance"


Ordinarily, I'd come out to say that you're using an extremely dishonest argument, but perhaps you're not exactly familiar with constitutional law.

To wit; freedom of speech is guaranteed, but lobbying should not be confused with speech.

More importantly - the First Amendment section that you quote establishes NOT the freedom of speech, but the separation of church and state...

The actions of the Supreme Court speak loud and true about the spirit and intent of this law - which you have seemingly misrepresented: in all cases, the SCOTUS has consistently ruled against the attempts of Christian lobbies to force the state to institute public prayer, intelligent design, sponsored Bible readings, the display of the Ten Commandments on state property...

I have no problems with individuals saying "Fags must die!" or posting this on their blogs, and no problems either with individual churches posting banners saying the same thing. But as an admirer of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, I am opposed to Christian groups forcing the state to say the same.

Anonymous said...

A small observation.

The National Council of Churches actively doing something negative by commending the government on its discrimination against homosexuals and calling for the criminalising of lesbians.

Just over the past weekend a Buddhist organisation was actively doing something positive by raising funds to help poor patients through a televised charity show.

The contrast couldn't be more stark.

le radical galoisien said...

Coud the anonymouses call themselves at least anonymous1 and anonymous2 or something? Sometimes it gets a tad frustrating.

but perhaps you're not exactly familiar with constitutional law.

To wit; freedom of speech is guaranteed, but lobbying should not be confused with speech.


Lobbying is speech. The First Amendment guarantees the right to pressure the state or government or your local representative. It does not guarantee that it will be successful. There's a difference.


"More importantly - the First Amendment section that you quote establishes NOT the freedom of speech, but the separation of church and state..."


No, that was the entire amendment, mind you. See the part where it says "petition for redress"?

I wonder who's unfamiliar, because the first part guarantees religion, then the second part guarantees speech.

"or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievance"

That part is all speech, assembly and lobby.

Perhaps I should tell you. That part which says "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" - that's the Establishment Clause. The part which says "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", that's the Free Exercise Clause. The rest of the Amendment deals with the various forms of expression (assembly, speech, petition/lobbying).

YOU please review your (basic) constitutional law, and don't bloody tell me to when you can't even identify your clauses properly.


"The actions of the Supreme Court speak loud and true about the spirit and intent of this law - which you have seemingly misrepresented:"


It's an amendment, not just any law. I usually don't see people referring to the Amendment as a mere law (it is part of the Supreme Law of the Land nonetheless).

But I don't see how I have misrepresented it. Are you saying Christian groups don't have the right to lobby?

It doesn't matter what type of legislation it is (unless it constitutes a clear and present danger, danger to public security especially in a time of war, etc. etc.) the Amendment doesn't distinguish between the different types of lobbying.


"In all cases, the SCOTUS has consistently ruled against the attempts of Christian lobbies to force the state to institute public prayer, intelligent design, sponsored Bible readings, the display of the Ten Commandments on state property..."

But please tell me where the Supreme Court has ruled against thir right to lobby?

Furthermore, I'm not even sure if it ever got to the Supreme Court in the first place. What cases do you speak of? I didn't even know their proposals ever got passed by Congress.

Also, I am afraid you have it wrong for the display of the Ten Commandments:



"A Ten Commandments monument erected on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol did not violate the Establishment Clause ..."



Please tell me who doesn't know their constitutional law? The Supreme Court ruled against displaying the Ten Commandments on public property? Really? Perhaps there's some recent news I haven't heard about.

"But as an admirer of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, I am opposed to Christian groups forcing the state to say the same."

No, you do not know your constitutional law at all. I am apalled at the way you can accuse me of misunderstanding it when you have misunderstood it totally.

Lobbying is not forcing the state to do anything. Lobbying is a form of petition for a perceived "redress" (even though the "redress" in this case makes the petitioner look more like the aggressor, yes).

Whether the state hears them or not is a different matter.

Now, perhaps if you are implying if there's lack of separation of powers between church leaders and politics, or perhaps there's some money influence going on (like say, passing bribes), then maybe you could say they are having an undeserved influence in politics.

Otherwise, no.

akikonomu said...

Please tell me if, as you claim, there is nothing wrong with churches and christian groups lobbying the state to change the law - why have ALL their efforts ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS?

What constitutional principles have been constantly quoted by the judges of the SCOTUS to frustratee the churches every time they try to lobby the state?

Why is public prayer in schools banned since 1962?

Why is creationism banned in schools since the Scopes trial?

Why are religious songs only allowed to be performed in schools if they are followed by secular songs?

Here's 3 words you should learn if you still want to continue your pretense of knowing anything about the First Amendment and the "freedom of churches to lobby": Lemon vs Kurtzman

Until you account for that, YOU are the one with the dishonest argument, JMS. Furthermore, I charge that you are DOUBLY dishonest. Not only are you pretending that the First Amendment guarantees church interference with lawmaking, you also wilfully ignore the intent of its drafters. Jefferson and Madison drafted and invoked it as a wall of separation between church and state.

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

- Thomas Jefferson, 1802. Surely a man who knew more about the First Amendment and what it truly meant, than le dishonest galoisien

blueheeler said...

just to show that all things will come to pass...good cartoon!

le radical galoisien said...

I wasn't even supporting the religious organisation's stance on the matter (it is quite a mouthful, what is it again? The NCCS?).

I was only interjecting because it had to be clarified what was a right and what was not. I had to make this clear.

If Singaporeans can't get this straight, then it's no surprise why we're still under authoritarian rule, because Singaporeans don't get what a "right" is, and differentiate that from other things like social stigma.


"By some twisted logic of a few people displayed here who wanted to argue that it is actually okay to lobby for"


The key word in this case is what do you mean by "okay?"

Do you mean "not stupid", "not bad", "not disgusting", etc.?

Then by all means, say that. That's a moral judgment, and an opinion.

But if you mean to say that they don't have a right, then I must oppose.

Look guys, I really fear for the future of Singapore here. You're saying that you would strip someone's right to say something just because you find their speech disgusting, or just because you vehemently disagree with their stance.

You also make the wrong distinction between personal speech and lobbying for legislation. The law does make such a distinction, but it generally comes into play in other contexts. Lobbying is pressure, but it does not force the state to do anything (unless if it were in a tighter situation and the NCCS offered the government funds, or something.)

Would you all be happy to see the NCCS in prison for their remarks? Is that what you're advocating? Let me get this clear, because the distinction between "right" and "wise thing to do" is critical.

Also akikonomu, please tell me how my argument is "dishonest". I am merely saying they have the right to pressure the government for whatever legislation they want. You see, in order for the legislation to even have a chance of passing, it must convince a majority of legislators, and ideally, voters.

Or are you saying "dishonest" because you disagree on the idea that such a right to lobby exists?

So, what do you want to do with the NCCS then? Life in prison, perhaps, for their bigotry? Perhaps the death penalty?

I don't care whether you feel "uncomfortable" or not. Do you think the right exists or not, or no?

and thus abusing, legalization to help enforce a certain belief or view on everyone else simply because this is called their right to freedom of speech,

Speech is speech. I don't see how it is enforcing anything or anyone. It is an attempt at such an enforcement - but that is a critical distinction, namely because it is a longshot between attempt and actual enforcement.

Should actual enforcement come to pass, the majority of legislators would have to agree on passing it. They are not being "forced", unless the NCSS sent a private army into Parliament.

How is it an "abuse" of that right? What if I called up my MP while drunk and made a few bigoted proposals to him? Am I suddenly abusing the right to speech?

Now, this is Singapore. Perhaps what we're lamenting is that we have little choice in our selection of MPs. Then, this is the heart of the issue, because we have little control over what our MPs vote about.

Let this be a warning to those Singaporeans who even dare vote for the PAP in 2011 ...


"it is not surprised why despots like Hitler is able to freely talk his way to power and later start abusing the power he gained from his freedom of speech to enforce Nazism onto the rest of his people."


You people need a history lesson, too. Please bear in mind that:

Hitler had a very strong private army (the SA was millions strong even in 1933, hence their ability to do their torchlight parade).

Hitler only got 44% of the vote in 1933. He was not elected in a landslide. Much of Germany - especially the south - was already quite bigoted. He had to ally with the Catholic Party to form a government (he would backstab them later).

Speaking on government and one's discontent is not abuse of freedom of speech. Now you see, when he started speaking explicitly about Putsches, then the government could act. Amazingly, they got softer and softer.

And amazingly, the NCSS does not have a private army, cannot beat up people to vote for their policies, and I find it difficult to imagine how they have enough resources to bribe legislators.

"Well done, can you imagine if we had some groups trying to lobby for legalization on allowing racism or enforcing a certain dress code on every Singapore ladies because it is considered obscene or offensive for them to dress too exposed to certain religion group or whatever? After all according to such logic, it would be their freedom of speech or right or whatever"

Am I supposed to feel shocked imagining that?

Ayah lah, groups like that seem so passe one, it's like heck care already, lor ...

Also, what I find shocking is that you support the government's action to arrest racists.

Now you see, here is the heart of the matter. This is why I am taking the effort, yawningbread: it appears that semantics is important, because it has already led to this demented individual's lack of understanding of rights.

My aversion to racists is one thing. I say, verbally assault them or whatever, eye for an eye you know ... but why imprisonment? Some people genuinely believe in these things, but they are still people, and often they are errant or mistaken, convinced by their parents or an overly-hegemonic Chinese culture.

The solution is to change their minds through speech, not imprisonment.

This is how democracy works. If their only offence to society is their speech, then respond in speech.

" so no one should have the right to say they are wrong or what."

AAAIIIINCCCCH

wrong.

You have misconstrued the idea of "right" totally. Freedom of speech also constitutes the right to rebuttal.

This is what balances the freedom. This is why it's not really "abused". I can use that same freedom to verbally assault the lobbying group, however much I want.

And if your language skills are good, it can be quite gratifying, especially when you know they can only come up with inferior counter-rebuttals.

Please lah, read up on your rights lah. Don't know where you got that idea hor, all very off-track one.

Each time in my posts, I have mentioned the "right to reply".

The right to reply.
The right to reply.
The right to reply.

And thus, yes, I can imagine such things happening. Would I be appalled or disgusted? Probably. Would I call for a prohibition of such activities? No.

I can perfectly envision legislation "allowing racism". In fact, I would vote for it. Why? Because a slippery slope already exists.

ALREADY they can censor plays, speech and the press with the excuse that they are "incendiary" and will upset the "balance of racial harmony" or whatever.

The government is already ABUSING the "anti-racism" laws, which restrict freedom of speech.

You see the danger?

You sheep apparently don't have very long memories.

Why are you all attacking me? I have iterated nothng new. Mine is hardly an untenable position. It is not bigoted but in fact should be espoused by most Singaporean liberals.

Take a look at these gaylegoh links:

reading through our constitution

what is freedom of speech? - "it was not the controls on the freedom of speech which brought down the racist bloggers"

Char blogger incident - Freedom to diss other religions

Colin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fabulous said...

Er. Yeah. Whatever

le radical galoisien said...

"Please tell me if, as you claim, there is nothing wrong "

Please, please, akikonomu, you are fucking slandering me.

I did not claim there was "nothing wrong". "Nothing wrong" is a moral judgment. I merely said they had the right to do so.

DIFFERENCE++

Please get that through your thick head.

"why have ALL their efforts ruled unconstitutional by the SCOTUS?"

Quoi??

Many of their efforts have been nullified in Congress, mind you ... you are apparently quite ignorant of case law.

And "SCOTUS" is just a horrible acronym. Stick with "USSC" please.


"What constitutional principles have been constantly quoted by the judges of the SCOTUS to frustratee the churches every time they try to lobby the state?"


YOU are the one with a dishonest argument.

YOU are the one who uses a non-sequitir.


THE SUCCESS OF THEIR LEGISLATION (OR LACK THEREOF) HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR RIGHT TO LOBBY.


Please, get that through your skull!

Yes, I am aware of the irony that the same First Amendment that guarantees their right to lobby also defeats their motions in Congress, or in Court.

That however, remains just a curiosity, because they are two completely different applications of the same amendment.


"Why is creationism banned in schools since the Scopes trial?"


Er, it's not. It has been simply excluded from most state syllabuses.

The current "intelligent design" movement (which I think absurd, which is generally unnecessary to say, but I have to say it in case you're too thick-headed not to notice).

Also, I don't know what's wrong with your conception of case law. Since the Scopes Trial? You must be thinking something else, because mind you, the Scopes Trial ended in a ruling against Scopes, not for him.

I think you should consult the Legal Janitor to update your legal knowledge, because he's more knowledgeable in this area than you are.

I am only defending the notion of "right". Right. Right.

I am not contesting the fact whether the NCCS is being foolish, absurd, bigoted, or whatever. I am just saying they have a right to lobby.

Establishing that is very important.

I am not saying they have a right to the success of their lobbies.

YawningBread understands me. He raised a somewhat valid point on "semantics" (I think the issue is more significant than semantics, that's my contestment). You do not understand position at all.


"Why are religious songs only allowed to be performed in schools if they are followed by secular songs?"


The keyword is public schools. Please make this distinction clear.


"Here's 3 words you should learn if you still want to continue your pretense of knowing anything about the First Amendment and the "freedom of churches to lobby": Lemon vs Kurtzman"


What is bloody wrong with you? That case concerns public funding of religious schools. Perhaps this would be an implication in an argument of whether th government of Singapore is right to aid schools like Fairfield and ACSI (both my former schools) -- in fact, I defended the funding (perhaps personal bias, but anyhow) in the YoungRepublic mailing list, and it would be all fine as a point except:


THAT CASE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE TOPIC AT HAND.


I still fail to see how a funding of private schools rendered unconstitutional still affects the right to lobby. Please tell me, prithee.

Not only are you pretending that the First Amendment guarantees church interference with lawmaking,

No, it guarantees ALL CITIZENS' right to interfere with lawmaking.

That is what democracy is all about. Anyone can lobby for their own pet views, no matter how absurd.

Because the moment we draw the line on "you can't lobby for that! It won't ever pass!", we get a slippery slope. We get the same slope that the Singapore government uses now: use the excuse of "racial harmony" to censor plays and films that are not racist at all!

How is my argument saying they have a right, saying that they are dishonest?

You have a terribly thick skull. You should have it measured.

"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State."

- Thomas Jefferson, 1802. Surely a man who knew more about the First Amendment and what it truly meant, than le dishonest galoisien


I am well aware of the intent of the drafters. You again, with your thick skull, have missed my point totally.

Firstly, if you really wanted to insult my name, you would have used "le galoisien sans honneur" or something of the sort, since "galoisien" is an adjective in this case ("radical" is the noun, galoisian radical, geddit?). Minor point anyway.

My main point is that doesn't AFFECT whether the groups have the right to lobby or not.

I am well aware that same amendment will defeat whatever bills bigots do manage to pass (if ever) later, but that doesn't affect my point.

You do not have to insult me by quoting such an elementary quote, or telling me who Jefferson is (who, by the way, I support over the likes of Hamilton and friends who would have opposed direct democracy).

That quote merely affirms the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses.

I do not see how it has any bearing over the RIGHT TO LOBBY.

Anonymous said...

funny how people who keep banging on their "freedom of speech" are always the very ones who try to ban this ban that because this and that do not reflect their religious ideals, or because their religiuos feelings may be insulted.

But of course they are totally blind to the fact that their beloved religious book contains an awful lot that are down right insulting, even inciting hatred of others.

theres no winning a logical argument with them.

le radical galoisien said...

"funny how people who keep banging on their "freedom of speech" are always the very ones who try to ban this ban that because this and that do not reflect their religious ideals, or because their religiuos feelings may be insulted."

Are you referring to me?

Because you have fucking misrepresented my stance again.

I am a very libertarian socialist (yes, libertarian socialism) person. I am not supporting the groups whose rights I defend.

Because this quote is dear to heart:

"Freedom of speech is when you think someone's opinion is horrible and disgusting, but you would die for their right to say it."

If people wouldn't, that freedom is worthless, because people would stop defending your right just because they disagreed with you.

My view is: let them say whatever they want. We have the right of rebuttal and verbal retaliation. We get the goods.


"But of course they are totally blind to the fact that their beloved religious book contains an awful lot that are down right insulting, even inciting hatred of others.

theres no winning a logical argument with them."


This, is what I call a logical fallacy, a red herring. Please tell me, how this affects the right to lobby, or how it disproves my point in any way.

I would contest your point about the book, if your point were not irrelevant anyway.

I have in mind a Law and Order episode. The former professor of one of the prosecution lawyers steps in to defend the defendant (a neo-Nazi member), not because he supported neo-Nazism, but because of a perceived infringement against First Amendment rights. Never mind that the neo-Nazis still advocate action that would go against the 14th Amendment, it doesn't matter.

Why attack me as illogical? Why not attack Law and Order? Or Gayle Goh?

My position is a position that any libertarian (right-thinking or left-thinking) should espouse.

Mine is a very American'ish stance (despite the fact I am highly cynical of US politics).

Anonymous said...

"My view is: let them say whatever they want. We have the right of rebuttal and verbal retaliation. We get the goods."

You totally missed the point if you think its about u u u.
You must also be blind or totally clueless to how it works here. This is not america. Speak against the fundies - hope you arent one -and you can likely end up in jail, thats the power they possess.
The fundies have freedom of speech alright, its freedom FROM religion that they are trying to remove.

Uniquely Singapore democracy said...

Just want to highlight a few salient points made by le radical galoisien which I agree with:

"...the other side of freedom of speech. The freedom to rebuttal. Activist groups always have the right to lobby for whatever they want, even a religious group. However, there are bound to be citizens who will counterlobby against it. This inspires debate, and the issue is resolved via public debate. This is what freedom of speech is all about.

The PAP has taken this away so there is no debate in lawmaking, we can complain to the taxi driver, but lobbying is not a characteristic of the Singapore Parliament."

In Singapore's case...
"The issue I see, is having small privileged minority groups having an unfair influence in the government - e.g. they don't need to campaign, they just need to use their own existing power on members within the government.

You see, generally to get a law passed by lobbying, you often have to convince voters (or perhaps just the MPs - this is a flaw of Singapore democracy that needs to be changed)."

----------------------------------------

This is the scary half-baked democracy that we live in. More and more laws are added, and just like the black hole, eventually it collapse inwards from its own weight.

Anonymous said...

until the sedition act is removed, there is no ground for argument by way of the Freedom of Speech by (religious) bodies against practices of minorities.

akikonomu said...

Wonder why the "liberals" in this discussion are unanimously slamming you, even though you're such a good libertarian socialist? As an emigrant living away from Singapore, it is quite understandable that you enter the fray without even knowing the context of the NCCS statement.

Understand this: NCCS is not petitioning the government to alter the penal code. Understand this: the government convened a feedback session where only religious groups were invited, and this was the NCCS's response after the feedback session was concluded. We are NOT in the situation of a religious lobby group petitioning the government, but in the situation where the government is itself petitioning the religious group. From your safe distance, you'd probably not notice the stench of this affair. Over here, we can see clearly that the Government and the NCCS are actively dismantling the church-state separation principle.

Entering this discussion, Singaporean commentors know the context of what is going on, they know the background and recent history of the NCCS - its opportunistic rise and insinuation into the policy-making process, aided by a government looking for convenient religious figureheads to back its HOTA and biotech research pushes.

You, however, are ignorant of all this. You may have fun observing all this unfold from a safe distance, pretending that it's an issue of free speech... while we sitting here in Singapore have to bear witness to the dismantling of the separation between church and state.

Not only that, but you've taken it on yourself to put one dishonest argument after another, one personal attack after another, one rant castigating Singaporeans after another... I'd rather you discuss this with respect to the context of NCCS or just blog about it on your own website, where you can divorce your arguments from what's happening on the ground, without me or any insane liberal posse calling on your rhetorical dishonesty.

Anonymous said...

You are really confused with what is the right to freedom and what is abusing your right to freedom to enforce your belief on others. I don't see how difficult it is to understand the obvious different and yet you are the living example that some people really don't get it.

Anyway, you had missed my point and making assumption that I support the arrest of racist blogger or whatever just because I think lobby for racism for everyone is wrong.

Even though I don’t agree with racism, and find them to be one of the worst kind of human behavior in this civilized world, but if people choose to keep their racism belief to themselves or on their own blog, I might not agree with their belief but I also won’t ask for the law to go after them either. However if this group of people start to claim how it is their right to free speech and how it is their right to lobby for racism be applied to every Sinkaporeans through legalization, then that is just plain wrong and absurd.

Moreover we already know that Sinkapore is not really the perfect example of a democratic nation nor a liberal society. We called ourselves an ‘inclusive’ society but with some twist here and there. And I don’t think it is a secret that quite a number of the representative in the parliament, as well as influential elites in the society, are follower of a particular religion. There is no 100% guarantee that they won’t be influenced by their own faith when considering such nature of legislation.

Of cause, in an ideal world of justice and equality the people might had the confidence that whatever silly legislation that had been lobbied by any religion or activists group, it would had been thoroughly and thoughtfully debated and counteracted by the opinions from the public, activists from all camps and also their legislative body. There should be consultation and there should be transparency regarding any decision making in legislation.

Moreover, ideally we should had a more liberal media (though no necessary unbiased) to cover and present the views of both side. If we could achieve all these, then perhaps it would not be necessary for us to react overall negatively regarding such ‘right’ to petition by those religious body.

You had been talking about how this is allowed in the congress and constitution in the US etc etec etc, but in Sinkapore, are you actually naïve enough to believe we had the same level of confidence that our legislation would be undergoing such ideal and fair process and that views from everyone, and not just the powerful or influential minority, would be considered in the making of decision? I would had thought that the legislation of the casino and recent budget debate (Not to mention the change in law that increase the punishment to anyone who ‘assault’ an MP) would had given you a rough idea of what our ‘debate’ is like in our 1st world world class parliament.

If you don’t even get why people here think this issue is a problem, there is no point for you to continue to argue what freedom and rights really is. You can continue to come out with any out of this world example or theory to back your points but we would still not be convinced. Because we know that you just don’t get it.

le radical galoisien said...

"As an emigrant living away from Singapore"

I am not an emigrant. I am a migrant, yes, but I only plan to be temporarily here.

"Wonder why the "liberals" in this discussion are unanimously slamming you"


Well, you're the only idenfitiable person (other than the anonymouses, who I wish would give themselves a number at least) who have, actually.

Not only that, but you've taken it on yourself to put one dishonest argument after another, one personal attack after another, one rant castigating Singaporeans after another...

Please name the "dishonest" techniques I have used. I can name some of your many fallacies, including red herrings, for one, as well as bad citations of case law. I see you haven't even addressed these faults.

Meanwhile, you fling the stones of "dishonest" argument. I don't know what the hell you find dishonest in my rhetoric. I am not using convoluted logic. I was saying that the groups indeed have the right to lobby. My posts are a counterpoint to the first few posts at the top of the page, which challanged that right.

Also, if you had that example in mind, mrwang's posts make no mention of that, and plus all these people were giving examples of other religious groups hypothetically pressing for legislation that I would have a problem with, or examples like legalising racism, or people pressing for a reduction in women's rights.

Apparently I am supposed to be immediately appalled that groups have a right to propose such legislation. I can be appalled at the legislation. I am not appalled at the right.

"Imagine if the government didn't arrest racists!"

Well, I can imagine that actually. Are you saying that liberals should advocate the arrest of racists?

You are the one using a dishonest argument, because I was only continuing from the premises of the other posters:

"don't Christians and their groups also have the right to lobby and fight for their own viewpoints, beliefs, convictions, just as much as you and me and the lesbian/gay groups or the environmental activists or the etc etc"

The first posts were in response to this. They used several errors in the argument I was merely addressing. It was only a caveat.

1. Whether or not they have a right
2. Whether or not the legislation will pass
3. Whether or not I support such legislation

Are three different and distinct issues.

I say YOU used dishonest arguments by attempting to combine them together then use your filthy rhetoric to make it look like I supported the legislation and wanted them to pass.

Now mind you, all I wanted to say was, "uh uh uh! They do have a right to lobby!", make a pedantic correction (one must always be pedantic about such matters) and move on. But you had to come in and then dishonestly conflate the three different points of contention together to try to disprove my point.

You, however, are ignorant of all this. You may have fun observing all this unfold from a safe distance, pretending that it's an issue of free speech...

I did not say it was an issue of free speech. I was only saying that yes, there is the right to lobby.


Safe distance? Please, stop presuming my intentions as well as putting words into my mouth. Each presumption you made, especially concerning what my beliefs were, was like a kick in a stomach, and to mention sheer misrepresentation of my viewpoint.

Perhaps you think "dishonest" argument because you think I am trying to make a point other than that what I am explicitly making. I am not.

My personal attacks were only a supplement and came from the outburst of anger that you could even have the arrogance to presume that I am an emigrant, or that I support the lobbying, or that I think there's "nothing wrong" with the NCCS' actions. These are gross misrepresentations on your part, and extremely hurtful, if not reflecting of the arrogance of your moral character.

Yes, I used ad hominems, but as supplementary elements, they are a small crime compared to the fallacies you used as the base of your argument.

I have not "castigated" Singaporeans more so than noted several faults that exist within the Singaporean psyche. Do you not think it is justified to verbally attack the Singaporeans who still keep the PAP in power?

I believe it will be easier to reform Singapore (though difficult in any case) than reform the US. I have refused US citizenship because I do not want to give up my Singaporean citizenship. (Note that people like you, akikonomu, are the type of people who would immediately presume from this statement that I am against dual citizenship.)

I am not a nationalist. Why do I attack my own nationality? Why should I refrain from noting our faults. I think that it is telling when Singaporeans would wish to disallow Muslims from lobbying against the consumption of pork.

Note that the anonymous rhetorical question in this case was:


"Would non-muslims be happy if a group of muslims petition the govt to ban the consumption of pork?"

There is no hint of "closed NCCS-PAP dialogue" here, all the more so with the word "petition". I am replying to people like this on the premises of the original argument.

(By the way I would just shake my head if such a thing happened, but I wouldn't advocate the government banning such lobbying.)

I also note that you have explicitly missed my caveats, which I offered as an option for perhaps what you are getting at.

The user "uniquely Singaporean democcracy" kindly extracted some excerpts for me. I made acknowledgemen that Singapore's case is not ideal because minority groups like the NCCS may hold unfair inside influence. I asked if this was true. I said that Singapore's case also had the problem of a government who could choose to listen to minority views without a referendum or fear of backlash from voters. This wouldn't affect the issue of "rights", since they are an ideal that should be fought for, no matter what the case, but I also didn't want to go too off-tangent on the issue.

I am only defending issue of "lobbying rights", raised by the first poster on this page. I defended them because I thought clarifying the semantics was important. It suspected it might not have had immediate links to the NCCS' case, hence I tried to tie it in with the current caveats.

In any case, you failed to reply to such observations, nor did you pick them up, or acknowledge that was your stance.

I suspect that you are simply an oppurtunist.

YawningBread has picked up the main point of my argument (although he wonders about its significance - it is true that it was more of clarifiying what a "right" entailed). Note that I do not contest his post.

Last week a former schoolmate died while serving in Iraq, and do you know who turned up at the funeral? A bunch of anti-gay activists, who go from military funeral to military funeral in the state to curse each soldier's death (or say it was deserved), saying it is the punishment for the military's tolerance of homosexuals. We students nearly felt like rioting into their bloody "protest". Please don't think I am alien from the matter.

You must also be blind or totally clueless to how it works here. This is not america. Speak against the fundies - hope you arent one -and you can likely end up in jail, thats the power they possess.

O RLY?

People like CSJ get arrested; mrbrown faced only a termination of his column. I am aware of the constraints on freedom of speech as you all are, for goodness sake. The main constraint is the control of the press, not fear of arrest (which exists in a minute degree) .

I am not totally clueless, and I have had a run-in with the Singaporan authorities over the issue of speech.

It's ironic, this prejudice issue. Just because I am overseas does not mean anything, it does not make me less Singaporean, and my experiences are quite recent. Akikonomu, it's amazing how you can go on about ignorance, considering all the gross mistakes you made interpreting and citing case law.

le radical galoisien said...

"I don't see how difficult it is to understand the obvious different and yet you are the living example that some people really don't get it."

No, it is a common fallacy to believe that there is an "obvious difference". I must resist the urge to say that you might be the classic Singaporean example who can conveniently chop off part of the right just because they disagree in some ways in which it is used.

Lobbying is simply a more aggressive form of speech, aimed at the government.


"keep their racism belief to themselves"


You see? You believe there is some distinction in rights, just because one chooses to "keep their beliefs to themselves" rather than profess them in public.

The law generally should not discriminate between the two, unless you get into things like harassment, disturbing public peace, etc.


"then that is just plain wrong and absurd."


I am disturbed why you think so. Their legislation may be wrong and absurd, but their right to lobby for such legislation is?

You choose to clamp down on them simply because they are louder and have a better chance of getting an audience?

What if the racist bloggers, instead of blogging, had used a megaphone in Speakers' Corner instead? (Actually, you can't use a megaphone in Speakers' Corner without permit, and existing laws will arrests the speaker for racial harmony laws anyway, but ideally speaking?)

Would you disagree with the right? Just because it has a larger audience?

"Moreover we already know that Sinkapore is not really the perfect example of a democratic nation nor a liberal society. We called ourselves an ‘inclusive’ society but with some twist here and there."

Please do not insult me by preaching to the choir. I have raised this point myself in the comments section of another post. I am well aware of this fact. I have explicitly pointed out the deficiencies of Singapore democracy in my posts.

but in Sinkapore, are you actually naïve enough to believe we had the same level of confidence that our legislation would be undergoing such ideal and fair process and that views from everyone, and not just the powerful or influential minority, would be considered in the making of decision? I would had thought that the legislation of the casino and recent budget debate (Not to mention the change in law that increase the punishment to anyone who ‘assault’ an MP) would had given you a rough idea of what our ‘debate’ is like in our 1st world world class parliament.

If you don’t even get why people here think this issue is a problem, there is no point for you to continue to argue what freedom and rights really is. You can continue to come out with any out of this world example or theory to back your points but we would still not be convinced. Because we know that you just don’t get it.


You have apparently missed my caveat "but"s, "of course"s, and other side notes I made concerning Singapore's situation that makes it less ideal.

I was only arguing that the right exists. I was not ignorant of Singapore's predicament.


That's why I EXPLICITLY POINTED IT OUT.


Please read where I explicitly commented that Singapore's system may not be fair because MPs can pass the legislation without any worry about voter backlash, etc.

Please read the part where I suspected one might be referring to how groups like the NCCS may wield an unfair influence as a lobbying group over the Parliament.

I don't know, maybe you should read?

Please people, stop stuffing words into my mouth. In no way did I express confidence in the Singapore legislature. I attacked them myself.

And also, please fucking stop telling me about the standard of debate in the Singapore Parliament because you are fucking preaching to the choir AND I RAISED THAT POINT MYSELF.

Someone else helpfully highlighted an excerpt from my posts:


"The PAP has taken this away so there is no debate in lawmaking: we can complain to the taxi driver, but lobbying is not a characteristic of the Singapore Parliament."


I acknowledged this point myself. I wrote it. Please stop acting like I am a frog in the well unaware of these issues WHEN I BROUGHT UP THE POINT MYSELF.

I also find it interesting that you're willing to go all the way to make the double dots on the "i" of "naive" through some alt-combination or other but not follow through with grammar. But this is a side note.

.You had been talking about how this is allowed in the congress and constitution in the US etc etec etc

This is not my fault. My intention was to quote the US First Amendment as a model just one time.

It was fucking akikonomu who brought the case law out (not to mention very flawed citations of case law that did not really support his argument at all), and I had to refute his fallacious arguments.

It really wasn't my intention to debate US law or cite it so dominantly.

the Stark in Winterfell said...

After looking at this debate, i believe that many of us are actually mixing up two issues which need to be look as separately for simplicities purpose.

1) The issue of Rights

2) The situation in Singapore

Just because the situation in Singapore is funny does not detract from the principle of rights. Furthermore i do not think the legislation gives two hoots about what NCCS thinks. Remember the casino issue? At the end of the day the government will make a decision based on their own criteria.

akikonomu said...

I can name some of your many fallacies, including red herrings, for one, as well as bad citations of case law

Almost as honest as Federalist Society members saying that the interpretations of the constitutional law by liberals are bad citations. Bravo!

I don't know what the hell you find dishonest in my rhetoric. I am not using convoluted logic.

Let's see... dishonest = convoluted?

Rather, dishonest is:

Defending the use of non sequiturs because it's "just an issue of semantics"

Defending the use of ad hominem arguments because they're just "supplementary arguments".

Using a red herring in "Do you not think it is justified to verbally attack the Singaporeans who still keep the PAP in power?" - an issue which has nothing to do with religion, the state, or even lobbying...

My personal attacks were only a supplement and came from the outburst of anger that you could even have the arrogance to presume that I am an emigrant, or that I support the lobbying, or that I think there's "nothing wrong" with the NCCS' actions.

That you justify your previous actions by something that happened way after your actions... is highly creative. I'm sure there's a formal name for that brand of dishonesty...

I am not an emigrant. I am a migrant, yes, but I only plan to be temporarily here.

Pure obfuscation. We call someone a migrant worker - regardless of whether they are planning to stay for keeps, or seek citizenship of the country. Whether you're planning to be temporarily here; whether you're a US or Singapore citizen, is irrelevant to the fact that you are an emigrant.

I am only defending issue of "lobbying rights"

Shifting the goalpost.

Why not? Are you saying their views should be censored? Should we throw church leaders in jail every time they make a suggestion to lawmakers? Torture them, perhaps? Why shouldn't religious groups get freedom of speech just like we do?

Poisoning the well of discourse, using a strawman argument.

The list goes on and on, galoisien. I believe this is not the first time you've been called out on your dishonest arguments before.

akikonomu said...

Furthermore i do not think the legislation gives two hoots about what NCCS thinks. Remember the casino issue? At the end of the day the government will make a decision based on their own criteria.

I remember the HOTA issue, where the long-dormant NCCS made its reappearance in public eye. The govt canvassed for "feedback" by religious groups - in reality, seeking their backing in a mutually legitimising exercise.

There's also the cloning and bioethics issue, again, NCCS and religious groups invited by the gvt to give these policies the moral backing the gvt needed. In return, of course, the religious groups get a state-sanctioned boost to their legitimacy.

The law on religious harmony? Again, religious groups invited by the gvt for feedback. A quid pro quo arrangement in disguise, really: gvt sanctions the primacy of relions, legally enacts protections for religious groups from public criticism, while these groups give their backing to even more cuts on free speech.

Each time a religious group-only panel has been convened to an official feedback session on some new law, things happen.

The only reason why things never happened on the Casino issue or the Da Vinci Code issue was because the religious groups were never invited to give their feedback.

le radical galoisien said...

Almost as honest as Federalist Society members saying that the interpretations of the constitutional law by liberals are bad citations. Bravo!

Bad citations because I did not contest the lack of an Establishment clause, or anything like that.

Besides a poor quote (as in, there are better quotes to choose from Jefferson) that starts with "I contemplate" makes me think you went fishing.


"Defending the use of non sequiturs because it's "just an issue of semantics"


It was YawningBread who said that, not me.

My primary argument was that religious groups have the right to lobby. It has not deviated. Dishonest? Please, you're the one using non-sequitirs.

Using a red herring in "Do you not think it is justified to verbally attack the Singaporeans who still keep the PAP in power?" - an issue which has nothing to do with religion, the state, or even lobbying...

Why are you attacking the side notes?

You accused me of "castigating Singaporeans". I defended my criticisms.

You're the one that brought this point up. I am only responding to yours.

You are fishing for possible cracks while your fallacies irk me so much I can still recall them off the tp of my head.

It is an issue YOU RAISED. An argument naturally leads to side points. I responded to them: inevitably, it wasn't about lobbying, naturally, because it was you who made the comment criticising me for lambasting fellow Singaporeans in the first place!

That you justify your previous actions by something that happened way after your actions... is highly creative. I'm sure there's a formal name for that brand of dishonesty...


Another fallacy of yours, because okay, there was one "post-action" idea on there, that of you calling me an emigrant, only because that was fresh on my mind and associated with the other things that inspired my anger.

That is not dishonesty, I was still angry at you for it, and I still attacked you. And it was the only fucking thing on the list. Please stop trivialising over points like this. This especially proves you are fishing.

"Pure obfuscation. We call someone a migrant worker - regardless of whether they are planning to stay for keeps, or seek citizenship of the country. Whether you're planning to be temporarily here; whether you're a US or Singapore citizen, is irrelevant to the fact that you are an emigrant."


Quoi? Emigrants are permanent immigrants. My migration is definitely not permanent. I am not fleeing Singapore. I am not quitting.

I am a cross-immigrant perhaps. The Latin root would be inter- (between), not the near opposite ex- (out), as you imply with "emmigrant".

Why am I debating this? I consider my identity important and I do not appreciate you calling me an immigrant when I am not one.


Shifting the goalpost.


I am not. You're the one who fucking has. My point, time and time again (along with admitting several caveats about the Singapore situation), has always been about lobbying rights. Throughout my comments - check them all if you will, they have always been arguing that the lobbyists have the right to lobby.

The very fact that you can assume that I am shifting the goalpost, that you can stuff words into my mouth, and think I am arguing something else other than WHAT I HAVE BEEN ARGUING ALL ALONG - THAT THERE EXISTS A RIGHT TO LOBBY BY ANY GROUP , only shows your arrogance.

This is fucking ridiculous. Please stop slandering me by misconstruing my posts. (I won't sue you for it as much as be very upset.)

Poisoning the well of discourse, using a strawman argument.

The list goes on and on, galoisien. I believe this is not the first time you've been called out on your dishonest arguments before.


I believe this is not the first time I have dealt with your accusations, refuted them, while you refuse to acknowledge your gross errors in citing case law.

Say that part about the Supreme Court banning the Ten Commandments from public property again? What was the result? Let's hear you repeat it.

That was not a strawman, nor "poisoning the well of discourse". It was only an example, because you said that the groups who lobbied to criminalise lesbianism didn't have such a right to lobby.

It logically follows that if they don't have such a right to do so, legal action should be taken against them (if they don't have the right).

Now, the only potential problem I can see is that I gave broad examples of possible legal action, but that was not misleading vividness: it was to strike home the point that if you say that they have no rights to commit their actions, that legal action can be taken against them for their lobbying. I gave some examples of legal action.

Please tell me how that was a fallacy or a "straw man".

I was only trying to sound out your opinion.

Yes, I was aware that was what you weren't advocating. But it was a rhetorical measure I had to take in order to make sure you paid attention to the proper point - their rights, not their success (or lack thereof, again) at lobbying or whatever like you kept bringing up as irrelevant points.

These are minor fallacies that I made at worst, and acceptable forms of rhetoric. It is not a fallacy to try to sound out your opponent to try to get him to elaborate what he means by "they don't have the right".

On the other hand, you have constantly avoided my primary point and constantly misrepresented my views, which are gross fallacies.

le radical galoisien said...

"Defending the use of ad hominem arguments because they're just "supplementary arguments". "

Ad hominems are not fallacious if I do not rely on them to prove my point. I did not say, "akikonomu is such and such a person. Therefore, his points are invalid." That would have indeed been a fallacy.

Perhaps you are asking for the right to a civil discussion, which then has nothing to do with honesty or fallacy or whatever. It was you who breached civility first through your gross misrepresentation of my views, from which I took offence.

But, civility is not a required part of logic, nor rhetoric, nor honesty.

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ooooh what a serious discussion!
what great impact it has on society!

hahahaha!!!!

random voyeur

cognitivedissonance said...

Gentlemen. Please.

to south paw of comment no. 2: yes it was published in the ST on 14 May 2006 (a Sunday, so technically it was the Sunday Times). I remember it well.

Anonymous said...

Xtians constitute a small minority, yet they feel they should decide how non-xtians should live. Govt seemingly very obliging in giving them opportunity to voice out.

Tang Liang Hong merely suggested they have too much influence... we know what happened to him

LKY had to publicly intervene on behalf of a candidate during an election onver the "temple issues", candidate later became law minister right?

Man who complained to a church about members who constantly illegal park blocking his gate got hauled up by police.

That is just a glimse of the state of affairs, thats what the issue is about.

le radical galoisien said...

The Christian-Muslim ratio in Singapore is about 1:1, by the way.

uniquely Singapore democracy said...

I agree with anonymous at March 24, 2007 3:02 PM:

"Xtians constitute a small minority, yet they feel they should decide how non-xtians should live. Govt seemingly very obliging in giving them opportunity to voice out."

Tyranny, hypocracy and double-standards are part of human nature, and thus found in people of any religon. This issue is that govt is perceived (rightly or wrongly) to be favouring xtians in their legislation. Why not call for a referrendum if in doubt?

The root issue goes back to the uniquely Singaporean democracy where freedom of speech is only a shadow (remember ISA).

Anonymous said...

Mr Wang is a gay! well, maybe he likes men and women.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:21 PM : That's bisexual, you dumbass.

le radical galoisien said...

Well, maybe he's just a Comrade**.

**hint hint

Anonymous said...

The entire discussion on free speech proves that the internet is for threadjacking, not porn. Shame on le radical galoisien and akikonomu on wasting our time on a topic irrelevant to the NCCS statement.

the internet is for threadjacking said...

Wow. So le radical galoisien is the constitutional expert on free speech and church-state separation? Anyone claiming that churches have no right to interfere in the law will be slammed as an ignorant, democracy-hating Singaporean who "don’t really understand the true meaning of having a right to legislation"?

Whoa. I didn't know Singapore got such law. But le radical galoisien is so smart, the law we must follow is from the US! Which has THE LAW that we must all follow!

"No church should prescribe, proscribe, or amend civil or common law" - 1905 law of France. You know I really want to see le radical galoisien slam the French for destroying the right to legislation.

le radical galoisien said...

"Shame on le radical galoisien and akikonomu on wasting our time on a topic irrelevant to the NCCS statement."

I was only being technical, offering a side note. It was not my intention to derail the discussion.

It was akikonomu who jumped on me, and I had to defend my original point.

"Anyone claiming that churches have no right to interfere in the law"

It depends on what the hell you mean by "interfere". Stop intentionally being obscure by choosing imprecise terms, please.

Do you mean, bribing the government? Buying out votes? Secret liaisons with officials?

Or do you mean things like making a press statement?

"I didn't know Singapore got such law."

What the fuck, I never said anything like that. Please stop twisting my statements. It's actually because Singapore doesn't safeguard its civil liberties very well.

That the universal right exists and whether the government is willing to comply with it are two different things.

"You know I really want to see le radical galoisien slam the French for destroying the right to legislation."

You bloody fucker, you think I nationalist izzit? Please stop fucking slandering me and insulting me hor, by presuming what my persuasions are, or that I will be sympathetic to the law just because it was French.

There are some French laws I have the urge to strike down right now. My alias is only in French because 1) I am francophone 2) Galois was French 3) the name is a pun [something only math people might get] 4) Galois was my childhood hero, a republicanist and a mathematical prodigy who died at the age of 20 in a shootout. I am not some blind xenophile, as you would have of me.

Naturally, the church should not have the power to amend law, and thus would not have the power of prescription or proscription. But if you say, no right to lobby? That's a different concept.

"the law we must follow is from the US! Which has THE LAW that we must all follow!"

Chee bai fucker again ah? You think I'm US hegemonist izzit? Please you all, stop fucking misinterpreting my attitudes, OR PRESUMING WHAT MY POLITICAL PERSUASIONS ARE.

Please note the following things:

1. I am Singaporean.
2. I am not an emigrant.
3. I am well fucking aware of the fucking restrictions on civil rights that the fucking PAP places on the country.
4. I am not normally a vulgar person, but you take me to the limit, because I do not know how else to express my exasperation.
5. I cited the First Amendment only because I thought it a good example of a document that expressed an idea about a universal right.
6. It follows that it's not the fucking "US LAW THAT WE ALL MUST FOLLOW", contrary to your fucking misperception of what my views are, but I espouse the ideas of absolute and universal rights. These are laws which should be followed. Try the UN Declaration of Human Rights, for instance.
7. Sometimes, I am anti-American. Sometimes, I use American examples in my arguments. Maybe you should fucking realise that I fucking cite things on their own fucking merit, not because it's fucking American or anything like that, hor.
8. I am an antinationalist. Political borders mean very little to me. Culture is everything.

le radical galoisien said...

Oh yes, the classic ignorant chest-beating, Beijing-worshipping Chinese Singaporean frog-in-the-well who sees colour, race, and nationality in everything and imposes his cultural hegemony on the rest of the country. The Chinese Singaporean is also afraid to let Malays become fighter pilots because of his superficial conception of what nationality entails.

The Chinese Singaporean is also pursuing his own cultural self-destruction, wishing to destroy every single pocket of diversity in Singapore, eliminate his own dialects under the ostensible aim of "unity", while making xenophobic comments against other immigrants.

Anonymous said...

This is sinister ......

http://www.dpjs.co.uk/moon.html

M.K said...

Hi Mr Wang,
You've probably done quite a few interviews with students about politics and blogging, but can I convince you to do one more for a 4th yr student? Questions won't take too much of your time, and your opinion would add great weight to my argument. Is there a way to get in touch with you? Alternatively, my email add is: agentmonday@gmail.com

Hope to hear from you soon.
Cheers
m.k

le radical galoisien said...

There is something slightly inaccurate in your link. "Left is evil" is not native to Roman tradition.

Etymonline:


1411, "prompted by malice or ill-will," from O.Fr. sinistre "contrary, unfavorable, to the left," from L. sinister "left, on the left side" (opposite of dexter), perhaps from base *sen- and meaning prop. "the slower or weaker hand" [Tucker], but Buck suggests it's a euphemism (see left), connected with the root of Skt. saniyan "more useful, more advantageous."

...

This was from Gk. influence, reflecting the early Gk. practice of facing north when observing omens; in genuine Roman auspices, the left was favorable.

Anonymous said...

This cartoon although is good but it fails to establish the synonimity between being left-handed and being gay/lesbian.

They are totally different.

Most of your blogs make sense but not this one, regrettably.

Anonymous said...

Why are they different?

Are they really different?

The cartoon has a point which you have perhaps missed. Left-handers were once perceived to be as unnatural, immoral & evil as homosexuals.

Perhaps the real problem is with the perception, rather than left-handedness or homosexuality per se.