Dear friends, unfortunately, I was not able to be at Hong Lim Park on Saturday, June 8th, to join the protest against the silly new Internet regulations in Singapore. I have just embarked on a seven-month trip across India and China, to do research for my second book. (Click here to read about my new project.)
Andrew Loh, the organiser, asked me to send him a short 200-word statement for him to read out. Thanks Andrew, appreciate it.
Here is the statement:
Dear friends, whatever our political beliefs, we should collectively oppose this regulation. Nobody should tell you what news is good and what is bad. That is for you to decide.
Some people will say, “Nevermind, it’s only 10 websites.” But that’s only the beginning. You give one inch, eventually they take one mile. Never let the authorities believe that they are more enlightened than you.
This new ruling will feed self censorship in Singapore—definitely in all those 10 websites, but also amongst other online writers.
Self censorship is a terrible thing. It infects a writer slowly, subconsciously. All of us in Singapore are affected by self censorship. It prevents us from having a richer, fuller dialogue.
Although we disagree with something someone is saying online, we should fight for that person’s right to say it.
Even if you trust the current government and the current MDA to do the right thing, do you trust tomorrow’s government? Do you trust tomorrow’s MDA?
You may hold the majority opinion now, but one day you might be in the minority. When that day comes, you will be thankful that we have a Free Internet for you to speak your mind.