Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Political & Human Rights

In a recently produced report it has been stated that despite its impressive economic development, Singapore fails to meet international standards for political and human rights and there are concerns about the independence of its judiciary....

.... Apparently the International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute identified a number of areas in which Singapore fell far short of international norms stating that democratic debate and media comment are extremely restricted and government officials have initiated numerous successful defamation suits against both political and media critics.

Lee Kuan Yew is reported to have responded to allegations that his country ranked low in matters of press freedom, saying Singaporeans were free to read whatever they wanted (a comment that made me smile giving the restriction on what publications can actually be sold in Singapore)

The group which represents 30,000 lawyers globally has published a 72-page report (with 18 recommendations it says should be implemented urgently). And as no surprise to some, the Singapore Government are reported to have dismissed them as without substance and feeble.

The Law Ministry is also reported as having said that whatever the government’s shortcomings, the overall objective has been to get Singaporeans better educated and exposed to the globalised world. So the laws and systems are adjusted to maximise the global forces to make Singapore a thriving cosmopolitan city, where both locals and foreigners live and work in a peaceful, safe and open environment.

You can't argue with that I guess, although it would be interesting to hear what the Law Ministry believes the government's shortcomings to be.

Chewing Gum in Singapore

I was at the out shopping the other day and although I've heard that Singapore Government had relaxed its ban (yes ban as in illegal to sell) on the sale of chewing gum in Singapore, I didn't think much of it until ....

.... I found my way into the chemists. As I walked around I passed by the Pharamcy counter, the place were you would normally hand in your prescription to be filled, or where all the drugs deemed too dangerous to sell over the counter sit locked away behind glass cabinets.

On the counter top itself was a locked glass container and in it was a whole stack of chewing gum for sale. My first reaction was to smile. Then I asked the assistant why it was locked and was told that in order to buy chewing gum in Singapore you must fill out a form and provide your passport/IC number, your phone number, your address etc, at which point, and I couldn't help myself, I burst out laughing.

Can you imagine it, having to register yourself as a chewing gum user. Totally insane! On the plus side its great to see the Government work so hard to keep us amused.