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Bertha HarianBertha Harian

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Cows to the slaughter

Gosh! I wonder if Minister Heng Swee Keat knows what he’s getting into when he says there are no scared cows in the coming national conversation on what sort of Singapore we want to live in  I mean, there are plenty of sacred or near-sacred cows. Like the Internal Security Act and the power to detain people without trial. Like  the death penalty never mind if it’s now more restricted. Like singles not being allowed apply to the HDB for their first flat. Like removing the need for annual licensing of newspapers. Like criminalisation of homosexual acts.

I can justify every policy above under “fundamental” values that the country should have – which should therefore lead to a change in approaches and policies like the above. Like treating all citizens equally, whether they belong to a family unit, are singles or homosexuals. Like acknowledging that the citizenry doesn’t need nannying. Like guarding against inappropriate use of detention laws …Alternatively, I can argue the reverse – the need for tough laws to maintain law and order, maintaining the family unit because that’s what the majority of citizens want, guarding against outside influences on the media.

It’s gonna look kinda messy and we risk a chaotic conversation that would be more controversial and consensus-seeking. Better to have a framework than let it all hang out??? Anyway, that’s my two cents worth.

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An ex-journalist who can't get enough of the news after being in the business for 26 years

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