Friday, June 8, 2007

In the context of Singapore's multi-racial society, where there is cultural and religious pluralism, which author's view do u think should be adopted?

I feel that in Singapore, in a country where racial harmony is celebrated and multi-raicalism is widely encouraged and practiced, we should adopt Szilagyi's view, to focus more on social responsibility and not on freedom.

Singer talks about having the freedom of sppech and that we should not punish those who voice out opinions that differ from the rest. That will only make them think that they are only imprisoned for expressing views that cannot be refuted by evidence and argument alone. I feel that Singer does make a point there. These people may not be convinced of being punished just because they spoke something that violated the " right thinking and belief". Freedom of speech is the liberty of speaking and holding opinions without public authority interference. Even so, I feel that in the midst of given the liberty to speak whatever we want to, it is still important for us to be sensitive and cautious of the opinions that we are raising, whether other people will be hurt or be mocked at. Whether that is considered disrespect? I believe that although freedom of speech is granted to us, it is still bounded to some kind of restrictions and extent. Once we crossed the boundary, we will still have to be punished for what we said in order to maintain peace and suppress the rising tensions.

Besides, anyone who still has some knowledge of their secondary school's history will know that back in July 1964, there had been a serious race riot which had sparked off between the Malays and the Chinese in Singapore. Furthermore, communal tension was raised due to Utusan Melayu, a Malay newspaper which allows negative potrayal of PAP to be discriminating towards the Malays. This shows that the press do play an important role in maintaining the harmony between different races, especially in Singapore, where there are more than four different races congregating together. Although multi-raicalism is practiced and no discrimination is given to any of the races in Singapore, it is still important to be cautious and sensitive towards such issues and keep in mind of not to make any anti-racial comments in newspapers or even in other channels like blogs especially. Like what Szilagyi said, we have to think of what is more important for the democractic advancement of the society, whether we should ensure the freedom of expression of all its citizens or to protect the collective interests of society.

To me, the interests of the society lies above all. If we are unable to protect the interests of everyone, to be able to express whatever negative or discriminating views of the different raical or religious group of people, tensions and riots will tend to occur. In that case, how are we able to advance and move forward if we are bounded by such racial and religious internal conflicts? I believe we certainly do not wish to end up like another Sri Lanka, do we?
All in all, I still believe that social responsibility of the people need to be practised, especially in the context of Singapore.

1) Ghetto: in former times, an area in European towns in which the Jewish population was required to live.
2) Refuted: to prove something to be false or somebody to be in error through logical argument or by providing evidence to the contrary.
3) Enormity: extreme evil or moral offensiveness.
4) Atrocities: a shockingly cruel act, especially an act of wanton violence against an enemy in wartime.
5) Lamentably: sadly and mournfully.
6) Fascist: somebody who supports or advocates a system of government characterized by dictatorship, centralized control of private enterprise, repression of all opposition, and extreme nationalism.
7) Solidarity: mutual agreement and support.
8) Libertarians: someone who to set somebody free from traditional socially imposed constraints such as those arising from stereotyping by gender or age.
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2005. © 1993-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

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