The Null Device

Oh Singapore

Melbourne's liberal-except-when-the-proprietors-pull-the-strings newspaper The Age is shocked and appalled that, on the day that convicted heroin trafficker Nguyen Tuong Van is hanged, the prime minister will be insensitive enough to attend a cricket match, rather than registering his outrage as a liberal Australian sickened by the very idea of the death penalty.

I'm not all that surprised. Could it be that one of the reasons that Howard did not protest too loudly is because, in his ideology, far from being a barbarically illiberal backwater, Singapore is a model for what a modern Australia could look like, reconciling the cherished authoritarian conformity of decades past with a dynamic economy and a place in the globalised world? Let's see: an extremely business-friendly regulatory environment, a work ethic that aggressively minimises threats to economic performance, strict censorship of the media and arts, criminalisation and marginalisation of political dissent, harsh penalties for conduct the leaders find inappropriate (such as chewing gum, for example) and the near-total power of the state over all aspects of public and private life. Add a good dose of Anglo-Saxon Christian moralism, suburban wowser ideas of propriety and traditional iconography to that and you have a perfect recipe for a "relaxed and comfortable" Australia John Howard could love.

There are 3 comments on "Oh Singapore":

Posted by: datakid http:// Mon Nov 28 11:43:42 2005

I totally agree with you - it's a similar reaction to my own when I read the article on the hard copy - although as someone who is politically distanced from our Johnnie, and somewhat uninspired by death penalties, what am I going to do? Lie in bed in teh foetal position crying? Unlikely, I've got blogs to read!

Posted by: Tony Sat Dec 3 11:51:23 2005

Check out this image - thought you may like it.

Posted by: acb Sat Dec 3 22:58:56 2005

Nice. Is it a remixed Maoist propaganda poster?

Want to say something? Do so here.

Post pseudonymously

Display name:
To prove that you are not a bot, please enter the text in the image into the field below it.

Your Comment:

Please keep comments on topic and to the point. Inappropriate comments may be deleted.

Note that markup is stripped from comments; URLs will be automatically converted into links.