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Wednesday, January 25, 2006 

Brave New Experiment in 1984

I read Catherine Lim's article, Managing Political Dissent, last Friday while having breakfast.

Sheer brilliance, I tell you. Catherine's analysis was spot on. Like the Legal Janitor, I felt she brought to light what I've been thinking for a long time.

Then, I read her short story - The Experiment - which concluded the article. Her earlier words sent shivers down my spine but this... This made me go pale, as far as I can imagine.

"Not just plausible, but all too real," comments the Legal Janitor. I nod.

Today, it suddenly hit me. Two words: Speakers' Corner.


Anyway, someone named Loke Kong wrote in to ST's forum page.

Accountability vital in dissent or assent

I read Dr Catherine Lim's article, 'Managing political dissent' (ST, Jan 20), with respect and admiration. Her views are sharp, insightful, well-researched and objective. Of course, they could be seen as controversial too, depending on one's position.

The Straits Times should also be applauded for publishing it without fear or favour.

Dr Lim is a fair and committed Singaporean. She praised the Government when praise was due and criticised it when it deserved to be criticised.

She praised the Government for the three pillars of sound governance, but firmly believed that a model of governance in which political dissent had little or no role was deeply flawed on two counts:

# First, the need for expression should never be suppressed.

# Second, if it is, then it is all the worse for society.

However, she forgot to mention that be it dissent or assent, it must be backed by accountability, without which society would become chaotic.

I particularly enjoyed reading 'The Experiment'. It made me smile with empathy. I believe the episode could be enacted in real life some time down the road.

Dr Lim is a catch for any political party, but I believe she prefers to be non-partisan. This is because, in this way, what she writes will be more acceptable and credible to most, if not all, Singaporeans.

Also, I believe that both Dr Lim and the Government have the interest of Singapore at heart. The only difference is that, whereas Dr Lim speaks for the intellectuals, the Government acts in the interest of most Singaporeans.

At the end of the day, let's live and let live. Onward Singapore!

Loke Kong

I'm not sure which scares me more, The Experiment or The Response. Majulah Singapura indeed.


Side note: Does anyone care that Took will be hanged?



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