February 2011

Taking it serious in Singapore

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote:

“If Singapore has one thing to teach America, it is about taking governing seriously, relentlessly asking: What world are we living in and how do we adapt to thrive. “We’re like someone living in a hut without any insulation,” explained Tan Kong Yam, an economist. “We feel every change in the wind or the temperature and have to adapt. You Americans are still living in a brick house with central heating and don’t have to be so responsive.” And we have not been.”

It’s fundamentally my beef with what’s happening in our nation, and what’s happening in certain legislation out there. Whether it is anti-cybercrime bill, or the prepaid sim card registration, or some other initiative.

What world are we creating from it?

And sometimes we only look at it with a near-sightedness, and often we look at it with ideas drawn from the past, that feels tired, old and silly.  Sometimes it strikes from fear.  Others like content licensing comes simply from ignorance.

We rarely look at the picture holistically; rarely do we accept that politics is imperfect from the get go.  And often? we prattle at the silliest of things.

Could we understand the depth, breath, and consequences of the things we put in motion?

Ronald Singson is a victim

Rep Ronald Singson pleaded guilty to smuggling cocaine into Hongkong.

He told the judge,


    “I apologise to the people of Hong Kong. This was a very big mistake and in the process, I have ruined my name and reputation, embarrassing my family and causing pain to my girlfriend.”

    “I’ve never been more remorseful in my life. This is just the beginning of my problems. Not knowing my fate back home has cause me a great deal of pain.”

    “I ask you to find it in your heart to… sentence me with leniency. There’s nothing more I want than to go on with my life.”

I sympathize with Singson. He didn’t steal, he didn’t hurt anybody. He only went to Hongkong to attend an Usher concert and he brought along his favorite party drug. I know it is illegal but is it wrong?

For as long as alcohol is legal and doctors are allowed to prescribe anti-depressants, sleeping pills, pep pills, and all sorts of drugs that are bottom-line mood enhancers, I find no legitimate reason why some drugs should be illegal and some not.

Singson is a victim of wrong headedness, of a system that says, “We can decide how and what adults can or cannot consume in the pursuit of happiness, we can define and decide what should or should not make you happy. Because we can.”