Today Australian citizen Tuong Van Nguyen was executed in Singapore. He had been found in possession of 14 ounces of heroin while boarding a plane from Singapore to Australia in 2002.
If the penalty for this crime seems excessive, it should be noted that Singapore is a city-state renowned for its draconian laws and unrepentant censorship.
In fact, in many respects, Singapore is a contemporary conservative’s ideal society.
Executions are common and are carried out, typically by hanging, not only for murder but for also for many drug offenses.
Caning, or whipping with a rattan rod, is the penalty for numerous offenses. (Michael P. Fay, an American teen who vandalized several cars there in 1994, was caned - to the delight of corporal punishment devotees everywhere.)
In Singapore, as in some American states, oral sex, anal sex and homosexual relations are illegal. Hence, gay marriage isn’t even a topic of debate.
Also, like the US, Singapore is not comfortable with the mention of condoms, even in the context of AIDS awareness campaigns. “To educate people you don’t have to be offensive,” said one Singaporean health official on the topic.
There is no pornography or anything resembling it allowed in Singapore.
Magazines, newspapers, films, television and all other forms of media are highly censored. The country famously demanded a censored version of Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List (but didn’t get it).
Offending the political and religious views of others is also forbidden.
A political documentary called Singapore Rebel was seized by police earlier this year and the director, Martyn See, threatened with fines and jail time. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong needn’t ever worry about a Fahrenheit 9/11-style film challenging his leadership.
Singapore is indeed an American neocon’s wet dream. So, to them I make this modest proposal:
Instead of continuing their conquest of America, as they seem intent on doing, our neocons ought to establish their own country elsewhere in the world, using Singapore as a model.
That, or at the very least, they could all move there. (I can dream, can’t I?)