1) OK, this one is easy. In which of the following countries
is oral sex a criminal offense, "unless performed as part
2) Which of the following groups is considered by the Government of
Singapore to be a dangerous and subversive organisation, possessions
of publications of which and membership in which are illegal?
A) the German Nazi party
B) the Klu Klux Klan
C) Jehovah's witnesses
3) How much cannabis resin (hashish) do you have to be caught with
in Singapore for death by hanging to become mandatory for you?
A) more than 1,000 kg
B) more than 50 kg
C) 200 grams (enough for about a joint a day for one year)
4) The penalty for smuggling which dangerous controlled substance into Singapore is
one year in prison?
C) chewing gum
The correct answers (of course) are: C, C, C and C.
1) Oral sex, if not followed by vaginal intercourse, has been ruled as an "unnatural
act" under section 377 of the Singapore penal code which carries a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment. Yes, somebody went to prison for that.
2) Jehovah's witnesses: How can anyone respect the government of a country that feels so insecure
that it can't even let its people make up their own minds about the
"Watchtower"? Actually, the reason Singapore jails all Witnesses or people found
holding their literature is that their religion forbids military service as all killing of fellow human beings (remember "Thou shalt not kill"?), which is
the same reason why Hitler sent them to concentration camps.
3) No one has ever died of a cannabis overdose. Scientists say it's about as
habit forming as coffee and does not lead to harder drugs, yet the
government of Singapore is prepared to kill people they find in possession
Singapore is unique amongst tiny countries (the city state has only 3 million
inhabitants) in executing some 50-80 people every year, many of them for
being found with drugs. Imagine if Japan was executing 3000 people per year
and holding 400,000 citizens in concentration camps for using illicit substances
and you've got things in proportion.
Despite these barbaric
punishments the number of illegal drug users in its five drug rehabilitation
centres (where people can be detained against their will if they have used
illegal drugs) rose from around 5000 in 1990 to 8700 in 1994 . That means two
decades after making the death penalty mandatory for a range of drug offences
as many as 1 in 300 Singaporean citizens are now undergoing forced drug
treatment, tendency rising...
4) Chewing gum: On the other hand, no one has been sentenced for smuggling gum yet. There was
a case recently though where a 16 year old boy was sent to a detention camp for
two years for being caught with a pack of cigarettes.
In May 2004, the government of Singapore lifted its blanket ban on gum sales. 19 "medicinal" and "dental" gums may be sold in pharmacies, provided users show valid ID. Selling chewing gum without checking ID makes the seller liable to a fine of S$5000 (US$3000) and up to two years in jail.
Welcome to paradise!
I do not want belittle the impressive achievements of this country during
the 40 years of its independence, for which the Lee government deserves some
credit. Yet now it is time for change. Singapore needs an independent
judiciary and a working multi-party democracy. History has shown that
single party rule and censorship inevitably lead to corruption.
The people of Singapore would benefit if its government were to
become more open and tolerant.