A democratic warning and a wake up call for everyone

Many academics have attempted to define what constitutes a democratic country and while some details differ, they essentially have three core elements.

These are free and fair elections, free speech and association for healthy public discourse, and an evenly applied rule of law with no exemptions.

When these three are in place and maintained diligently then we see the best outcomes for nations, the more they are curtailed or corrupted the worse it is for the general population and the country as a whole.

By these and the other minor elements that the various scholars use they have found there is no truly democratic country or model system in the world, as in the end, they all come down to the human element and how they are administered, but some fare much better than others.

We can see these three principles being curtailed in practice when we look at North Korea that has elections but only One candidate is allowed on the ballot.

Myanmar has national media, but it is only allowed to disseminate what the Military Junta wishes even though they claim they are no longer a military dictatorship.

And most recently Turkey where the law was inappropriately used to nullify a democratic election that the leader did not like.

What has however been seen as a universal antidote to limited or no democracy also has a combination of three elements.

These are an awakened and active citizenry watching the actions of the officials, the officials within the system having a commitment to democratic practices and even and just application of the laws, and the Politicians/Elite Class maintaining and refining a system complete with a legal structure to support and not curtail the democratic environment for all.

I think given the passing of the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill (POFMA) law, which has the potential to impact all three core elements, it is a good time for us to review how Singapore stacks up on the democratic front.

We technically have free and fair elections, but everything has been done to dissuade any other names ever appearing on a ballot using psychological, economic and bureaucratic methods (the fear your future will be affected, the costs to participate, the hurdles to qualify, maintain and run an alternative party etc)

We all know we have limited rights to association and free expression (now down to a few hundred square meters of park with a licence for a public protest, we can be arrested for an illegal gathering of 1, are 151 in press freedom, critics are regularly sued or fined and now we have the new POFMA law to contend with)

We also see the government placing themselves above the law with POFMA and in the past have used a whole range of our laws to attack, imprison and drive out their political opponent’s many times for actions they helped to manufacture (recent press revelation and AIM for example) or are equally guilty of but was overlooked (they have no compunction at slandering and belittling anyone who disagrees with them but reaches for an excuse to sue for the same reasons).

As the prime minister himself has said, they must “fix” opponents instead of respecting the peoples choice and working with them. And now we see new election-related laws that appear to set the scene for the nullification of elections by loss or damage to a ballot box or votes, something that has never happened before but with the introduction of an electronic vote, counting may become a possibility.

And that is all aside from how the system itself is run and maintained with appointments coming from a very limited range of candidates rather than the population at large with many being related or from a planned military background.

And your success and longevity within the system often being very dependent on how useful you are to those above you with rings of influence emanating from an exclusive inner core that oversees all aspects and removes you if you displease them. (we have lost many good academics, businesspeople and legal professionals who no longer live and work in Singapore to this amongst others).

So, by all these measures, we do not rank very highly on the scale however much those in charge may try and claim to be democratic. Look at the results and actions, not the words.

When countries reach this stage and the hardships grow to an unbearable point for the people, as we are seeing happen for a very large and increasing section of our population today then with little democratic recourse revolution inevitably happens. You only have to look at Romania in 1989 for a recent example, and somewhat disturbing parallel to how Singapore is operating if you read the history, of how this all ends.

This is something we NEVER wish to happen here however our saving grace may be that this is driven primarily from the core of the Political Class that rules and indoctrinates us but extremities and the other two parts of the antidote, an active and aware citizenry and officials in the system committed to democratic processes still have personal free will to resist and influence the core political class to change.

A lot will come down to how awake we all are to what happens when democracy fails and also how much effort we want to put in to generating a peaceful fix instead of putting our heads in the sand until breaking point and the terrible inevitability occurs.

Thousands of years of human history and numerous examples of systems gone bad show exactly how it all ends up when all three core principles are not followed and all three elements of the antidote are not aligned and aware.

I hope we all take the time to study history, look at our country with a critical and open mind and awaken and influence our fellow citizens, officials and politicians to get back on to a truly democratic path before the tipping point is reached.

The destination may be a distance away but from where I am sitting the road has been paved and it is now up to us all to not let our country be driven down it.

 

Brad Bowyer

 

 

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16 Responses to “A democratic warning and a wake up call for everyone”

  • Sama2 menuju bahagia?:

    Democratic nationhood is commonly defined by the tripartite integrals: executive-judiciary-legislative. Most unfortunately for us LKY redefined the Republic of Singapore as Singapore Incorporated in the late 80′s thereabouts. And there begun the insidious downward creep into crony-capitalism that has all but obscured the tripartite foundation of our society, so called democracy. Original PAP would never mess around with our hard-earned CPF savings: There’s no retirement to do when you’re by the edge of the grave hehehe.

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  • Flabbergasted:

    every dictatorship is brought down by revolution.

    when the peasants get hungry and the land overrun by foreigners.

    A government who instead of taking care of the peasants, in cahoots with foreigners to take advantage at every opportunity.

    Protect the foreigners over the peasants, let them off with wayang penalties yet slam citizens with irrecoverable damage over the slightest.

    Till today, we still hear nothing definitive about the punishment meted out to the infamous stanchart robber.

    Till today, we still hear nothing about the shithead who attacked the poor security supervisor at Roxy.

    But we know people getting fined for holding a piece of A4 paper, people get charged for illegal one-man assembly.

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    Well, Brad…

    the Sheeple are happy with what they get and the People are getting the bad end of the stick because of the sheep who will Bleat and NOT Shout before being bark and bitten by Dogs with Evil eyes similar to the man who Con You into their Pens…

    Picking up after working for The Japs during the Occupation he practices what he Learned from his Master…The art of INSTILLING FEAR

    After a Visit to New Zealand…his CONversation with a Sheep Farmer on how a single Dog can Herd a flock of sheep into the pen…It is in “The Eyes” so say the farmer…The EVIL eye of The Dog…after which he Practices it with his appearances on TV with his Slitty EYES piercing and Threats to INSTALL FEAR on the silly sheeple but NOT the fearless Patriots and people of Integrity…Only through the Special Branch and ISA did he manage to cower these Patriots & Nationalist…not into SUBMISSION but Imprisonment or Bankruptcy…

    Top it all after 8 visits to the USA in the 70s to negotiate an EVIL Deal in exchange for Investment with Kissinger in the Bohemian Grove where Worshipping an Owl is a MUST to be a member and his name “Yew Lee Kuan” can be Found in the membership List deceiving the sheep but not the people

    and…what is the DEAL…Depopulation of the 3rd World by Whatever Means(LEEgal Abortion in Singapore) Possible to Create an Elite Society or for the world similar to Hitler’s wish to CREATE a Master Race

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  • Irene Vanessa Wan Si Hung:

    I think the many well written and thought out articles on democracy are lost on the ordinary voter primarily concerned with money and livelihoods. I think the sooner opposition parties accept this ugly truth about materialistic voters, the sooner they get voted in if they pitch accurately during rallies.

    For most people, democracy is an ideal but they aren’t convinced if it will put food on the table. I think people sympathize with oppo who get bullied but still vote Pap. They just fear losing it all.

    The oppo has to come up with a game plan to allay these fears. That if people change govts, they still keep their jobs. The oppo might also want to propose cheaper utilities, housing etc. People switch to save money.

    I have spoken to some people about democracy and they used this analogy. One is a puppy with no master. It roams the streets freely, but hungry for food. The kept/imprisoned pooch who is well fed but has to work hard to please the master’s whims. That’s how people think!

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  • C’est la vie:

    *****
    What’s all the fuss with democracy.

    If you can’t wear it, eat it or flaunt it, … it serves no purpose for Poreans !!!
    ***
    *****

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  • ABC Anti-British/Bred Campaign:

    ROMANIA 1989: BRING IT ON, SINGAPOREANS SAY

    His Dishonorable Mr Bowels, from east side, continues with the following from his previous day’s post:
    “Romania is not the first country to go through this hell, but I pray it is one of the last.”

    Hell, Brad, you’re still not keen on the idea that the episode be repeated here in this part of the world, with time loong overdue after thirty loong years? That Pinky & Chinggis Khunt be made Nicolae & Elena all over again, if only to provide useful lessons to present & future generations that it never pays to be greedy and it pays dearer to do so at the expense of the people, stepping on their corpses to make your material $tratollion$?

    Who are you actually working for? Her Majesty’s Secret Service (to actually protect her collaborators and their interests, thus HM’s interests), are you now, angmo(kio – you treacherous thing) roti?

    We are extremely disappointed, to say the least-est least. May thou be expelled from our sight and may thy Master-Creator taketh thee backeth, to be reunited with thy ancestors from Saxony!

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  • Great Asia:

    “These are free and fair elections, free speech and association for healthy public discourse, and an evenly applied rule of law with no exemptions.”?!!!

    The US? The UK? France?

    Which democratic country on earth has ever achieved this?

    This is the problem of those primitive civilisations that can only think in black and white.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Great Asia:

    After a father has successfully set up a multi-million company. He can pass it down to his posterity for hundreds and thousands of years and the business will be successful forever and ever?

    An authoritative family business can’t even last for long, let alone a democratic system that allows parties of different interests to fight.

    Shallow Asian monkeys are being blinded by the primitive white ideology mules.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • Oxfam International 2018:

    “Singapore is now among the bottom 10 countries in the world at tackling inequality and ranks 149(of 157), despite being among the world’s wealthiest nations. This ranking is, in large part, due in part to a new indicator on the extent to which a country’s policies enable corporate tax dodging. It also has no minimum wage to its workers, except for cleaners and security guards.”

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  • LIONS:

    WHERE IS THE *OWL*,its not coming here anymore?

    we need the OWL to wake up the SLEEPING SHEEPLE WHO KEEP WANTING TO GET SCREWED BY THE PAPple.

    the GREED OF THE FEW *GOONDOO* MEN is tearing this nation apart.

    how many percent of sgs are truly proud to call themselves SINGAPOREANS these days?

    soon,PEENOISE N AH NEHS WILL CONQUER SHEEPLE.
    10 MILLION?
    HOW MANY WILL BE TRUE BLUE SGS BY THEN?

    Whether chinese,indians or malay,sgs will become MINORITY.
    SGS MUST BE DAMN STUPID TO BUILD THIS COUNTRY N ACCUMULATE RESERVES FOR OUTSIDERS TO ENJOY BY AND BY???

    THIS IS SERIOUS AND NOT A JOKE.

    THINK N USE YOUR VOTE TO PROTECT OUR RESERVES AND CPF,OUR DIGNITY N CITIZENS RIGHTS.

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  • Haigen-Diaz:

    Democracy… how do you define it?
    Is it an objective, natural phenomenon, or a bunch of subjective ideas? Does the statement by Aristotle, …democracy – the perverted rule by many -…, carry some weight today? Or Nietschean definition: – democracy is a scheme for keeping superior few under the power of the inferior many -; does it make any sense today? Is democracy the synonym of some sort of balance – fusion of an idea and feeling? Should democracy be defined as something unattainable; should it be perceived as a “moving target”?

    Our obligation in a Democracy is to understand the meaning and power of each citizen’s voice as expressed by the vote. At least to me, means sharing the burdens and benefits of an open society in an equitable manner. It’s a facade if our majority has little voice. What difference does it make if you don’t have a voice?

    Free speech is the backbone of democracy with the best ideas ascendant. Sadly our own democracy, far from participatory and vibrant has become completely obliterated with the introduction of suppressive laws like POFMA. When these morally and spiritually withered husks of legislators berate the rule of law, justice and equality against it’ citizens, there is a rot in our system that transcends the idiotic leaders.

    The insidious forces of greed, influence and power have eroded our society and unscrupulous forces have all but seized it from our weakened, unthinking grasp. Democracy means that the people should rule. It was put into place to protect citizens from being subject to the whims of the educated elitists. It has always been dependent on a substantial core of involved and informed citizens. It will be a harsh surprise when our Democracy is no more.

    Much of is nothing new. More important to me is, How do we get out of here?

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  • patriot of TUMASIK:

    LIONS:
    WHERE IS THE *OWL*,its not coming here anymore?

    we need the OWL to wake up the SLEEPING SHEEPLE WHO KEEP WANTING TO GET SCREWED BY THE PAPple.

    the GREED OF THE FEW *GOONDOO* MEN is tearing this nation apart.

    how many percent of sgs are truly proud to call themselves SINGAPOREANS these days?

    soon,PEENOISE N AH NEHS WILL CONQUER SHEEPLE.
    10 MILLION?
    HOW MANY WILL BE TRUE BLUE SGS BY THEN?

    Whether chinese,indians or malay,sgs will become MINORITY.
    SGS MUST BE DAMN STUPID TO BUILD THIS COUNTRY N ACCUMULATE RESERVES FOR OUTSIDERS TO ENJOY BY AND BY???

    THIS IS SERIOUS AND NOT A JOKE.

    THINK N USE YOUR VOTE TO PROTECT OUR RESERVES AND CPF,OUR DIGNITY N CITIZENS RIGHTS.

    Patience Bro, the OWL made its appearance on 26-8-2017 with a FB post by the Idiot “Look wHOO is back”…NOT long more before payback time to be a member of The Owl Club…2 years +- sama2 papa 2013 visit by The Owl and the Gun Carriage rolled out 2015 with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne on the rooftop to bid an Evil Owl goodbye

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  • Stoned:

    Irrespective, MrBowyer, following your suggested three cores, is exactly the problem and will lead us all into the snares of the conniving and even the noblest of leading and brilliant minds.

    You can’t follow the scripts/ideas of men no matter how ingenuous it appears. The script or blueprint has already been decided( not conjured up by brilliant nen which will not deliver us out of the current world situation )

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  • LIONS:

    patriot of TUMASIK:
    May 17, 2019 at 11:35 am (Quote)

    Patience Bro, the OWL made its appearance on 26-8-2017 with a FB post by the Idiot “Look wHOO is back”…NOT long more before payback time to be a member of The Owl Club…2 years +- sama2 papa 2013 visit by The Owl and the Gun Carriage rolled out 2015 with a lone piper playing Auld Lang Syne on the rooftop to bid an Evil Owl goodbye.
    ==============================================================================

    @patriot,
    bro,you are right.
    karma will takes its own course.

    if you do good,good will come back one way or another.
    and,if you DO EVIL,the DEVIL WILL JUST BE WAITING FOR YOU.

    CHEERIO.

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  • Great Asia taking cock again?:

    New York Stock Exchange(1792), DuPont(1802), Colgate(1806), CIGNA(1792), The York Water Company (1816), Harper Collins Publishers (1817), Lloyd’s(1688), IBM(1911), Dutch East India Company(1602), Fiskars(1649), Hudson’s Bay Company(1670), Stella Artois(1366),
    OTIS Elevator (1892)

    a democratic system that allows parties of different interests

    Great Asia:
    After a father has successfully set up a multi-million company. He can pass it down to his posterity for hundreds and thousands of years and the business will be successful forever and ever?

    An authoritative family business can’t even last for long, let alone a democratic system that allows parties of different interests to fight.

    Shallow Asian monkeys are being blinded by the primitive white ideology mules.

    Ha ha ha!

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  • @Great Asia:

    Q. Which democratic country on earth has ever achieved this?
    A. Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Finland, Switzerland, Jamaica, Belgium, New Zealand, Denmark, Costa Rica, Austria, Estonia, Iceland, Portugal …

    As a rough guide check this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Press_Freedom_Index

    And yes, some civilisations are trying to be primitive.

    Great Asia:
    “These are free and fair elections, free speech and association for healthy public discourse, and an evenly applied rule of law with no exemptions.”?!!!

    The US? The UK? France?

    Which democratic country on earth has ever achieved this?

    This is the problem of those primitive civilisations that can only think in black and white.

    Ha ha ha!

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