S’pore’s High Commissioner to UK rebuts The Economist again

Singapore does not countenance hate speech.

Belmont Lay | April 13, 2017, 03:26 PM

Singapore’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Foo Chi Hsia, has issued a second rebuttal to The Economist.

Published on April 12, this comes barely a month after Foo issued her first rebuttal on March 16.

The second Economist article Foo responded to, "An outspoken Singaporean blogger wins asylum in America", was published on March 30 and is about teenage blogger Amos Yee, who had successfully gained political asylum in the United States.

It had made two valid points:

1. Singapore is incorrect to characterise Yee’s successful asylum bid as America’s acceptance of hate speech.

2. The head of Singapore’s association of criminal lawyers calling the United States judge’s findings “baseless and unwarranted” is ironic.

Foo responded by saying it is not true that teenage blogger Amos Yee was prosecuted in Singapore for political dissent.

Quoting what Yee said, she wrote he was put away instead because of his bigotry.

She also wrote that Singapore's laws on contempt do not prevent fair criticisms of court judgements and can withstand scrutiny.

This second rebuttal is notable as it lacked a clear punchline unlike her first, where she said unfettered speech led to fake news and Brexit.

Here is her second letter published in The Economist in full:

The law in Singapore

You imply that Amos Yee was prosecuted in Singapore for political dissent, and not for making vicious statements about Christians and Muslims (“No place for the crass”, April 1st). That is not true. In 2015 Mr Yee insulted Christians, saying Jesus Christ was “power hungry and malicious” and “full of bull”. In 2016 he said: “The Islamics seem to have lots of sand in their vaginas…But don’t mind them, they do after all follow a sky wizard and a paedophile prophet. What in the world is a ‘moderate Muslim’? A fucking hypocrite, that’s what!”

The Economist may agree with the American judge that such bigotry is free speech. But Singapore does not countenance hate speech, because we have learnt from bitter experience how fragile our racial and religious harmony is. Several people have been prosecuted for engaging in such hate speech.

Contrary to the suggestion in your article, Singapore’s laws on contempt do not prevent fair criticisms of court judgments, as the article itself demonstrates. Singapore’s court judgments, including on Mr Yee’s case, are reasoned and published, and can stand scrutiny by anyone, including The Economist.


High Commissioner for Singapore



Related articles:

S’pore’s High Commissioner to UK rebuts The Economist article asking S’pore to make criticism more legal

The Economist makes 2 valid points with latest Amos Yee article


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