What Is Life Without Literature and Song?
back after hiatus
Yo.. I'm back, with a long entry...
Ahh… At this ghostly hour I just completed my English essay due tomorrow… I sorta felt that it was blog-worthy and so, here it is:
“all these mang ka-li… gross gross. don’t come near me!” These were the exact words that Public Service Commission (PSC) scholar Chua Cheng Zhan (CZ) wrote in his weblog (blog). Racist? Seems to be. However, as Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Does a single racist posting on his supposedly private online journal by this young scholar, set to be the future elite of Singapore’s civil service, warrant such great disapproval and slamming by the public? Does he not have his right to express his views freely without fear of persecution? After reading excerpts from CZ’s blog, I feared that his posting might lead to increased racial tension. On the other hand, it was the response to his post that was truly terrifying. From the way in which CZ has been taken to task, I believe to a larger extent that his freedom of expression, as well as privacy, has been infringed. You may ask, “Why? And How?”
In the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 states that “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”. CZ should be allowed to express his views freely without fear of persecution. However, this is not the case. After his posting on his blog went public, people from the online community started slamming and flaming him. To add insult to injury, a lady compiled a dossier of his posting as well as the responses to it and sent it to PSC and The Straits Times, after which he was slammed by the public and warned by PSC. I do not think this is entirely justifiable for the fundamental reason that CZ posted his views on a private blog, one that was unfortunately unsuccessfully password protected. Now that his blog had been made public, he was taken to task for thought crimes. I reckon that the only crime that CZ had committed was that of carelessness. Is this not and infringement of his privacy and freedom of expression?
On the other hand, due to his carelessness, CZ did not realise that the internet is ope and free. Anyone might be able to access private information like this if security measures were inadequate as in CZ’s case. Considering this, CZ’s posting might raise tensions among races in Singapore and this threatens to undermine the social stability that we enjoy here, especially in a multi-racial society like Singapore. CZ should also have realised that as a PSC scholar, he is considered by many to be a so-called ‘high-flyer’. He is being noticed by many and therefore should watch what he says or writes.
Even so, the amount of flak that CZ received is appalling. No doubt the thoughts expressed are reprehensible, and would have been a serious concern if the person involved (CZ) is actually in a position of responsibility. However, he is not, not yet at least. The furore that erupted among the online community after his posting was scary and reminiscent of a witch hunt, with bloodthirsty hunters calling for CZ’s head. CZ was labelled as “a retard, a piece of excrement, a bastard who needs to be shamed, deserving of incarceration in an asylum”. Does he deserve this? Personally, I believe that it is useless to fight venom with venom and respond to CZ’s post in that manner. Are we concerned to shame him and ruin his future, or do we hope that he will change for the better?
To conclude, although CZ’s posting on his blog was definitely uncalled for, his freedom of expression as well as his privacy has been infringed due to the fundamental reasons that CZ’s post was meant to be private and that the amount of criticism he received over the posting was just overwhelming. CZ has been burnt at the stake, at least let this event rest in peace.