Saturday, 23 May 2015

[Straits Times] Yes to democracy, no to free-for-all

AS LAST Monday's article put it, there is presently a "Rising debate over free speech".
While we are a democratic country, it does not mean that we should ape the countries in the West that subscribe to "complete freedom for everyone".
Most times, these countries appear to be unprepared or oblivious to the potential problems that could arise, until they happen.
The media has shown the mayhem that arose recently in the West following a group's derogatory rants on religion, including the drawing of spiteful cartoons ("US cops kill 2 gunmen at Prophet exhibition"; May 5).
Such complete freedom of speech and action - which disregards the dire consequences faced by the law-abiding majority - is foolish, disrespectful and breaks the law.
Singapore has close neighbours with their own internal and external problems, which could spill over into our territory.
To ensure peace, people here should be cautious in what they say and do, and never instigate disharmony.
Yes, democracy is very important, but being "demo-crazy" without due respect for other citizens' rights has no place in our country.
Singapore should never take its harmony for granted ("PM: Religious harmony can't be taken for granted"; last Wednesday), and we will feel safe as our leaders, security agencies and other religious, social and cultural bodies continue to be aware of this.
Adrian Villanueva