Friday, November 21, 2008


Did you know that drug trafficking in Singapore is a capital offense? I'd seen the signs in the airport, but figured they were probably scare-tactics to make would-be offenders think twice. Apparently not. I recently read this article in the local newspaper. That got me curious about the subject. I read an interesting analysis and then looked at these stats. It turns out that Singapore has one of the highest per-capita execution rates in the world. In case you're not able to read the articles yourself, here is a quote that helps explain the government's position on this issue:

"The basic difference in our approach springs from our traditional Asian value system which places the interests of the community over and above that of the individual. . .In criminal law legislation, our priority is the security and well being of law-abiding citizens rather than the rights of the criminal to be protected from incriminating evidence."
Singapore's Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew

Agree or disagree, you can't argue with the fact that Singapore has done an amazing job of maintaining a low crime rate.


Gina Marie said...

I'm surprised you ever doubted that the government would make good on their threats. This is an extremely punitive society. Sometimes it feels too harsh, but on the other hand, you can't argue with a low crime rate.

But as Ethan wrote in one of his original sentences the other day in homeschool, "Low crime is not no crime!" Or so they tell us here.

Jessica said...

Personally, I'd rather live in a system where the rights of "criminals" are protected (becauser frankly, I am not willing to make the sacrifice of my life I were wrongly accused just to have a lower crime rate statistic). I appreciate their intent of protecting society, but individuals are part of society, too and thus, should be protected whether they are being protected as part of a group or individually.

I suppose I might feel safer walking on the streets in Singapore than in the USA though =)

Elizabeth said...

that's it. we're moving to singapore too.

Rebecca said...

Jessica, you bring up a good point. I think that what is needed is balance between the two interests. An society should always aim for justice at the individual level. The individual should be protected BECAUSE it is beneficial to a society if honest and upright citizens can trust their government to protect them. But, justice is a double edged sword. . . it protects the innocent and punishes the guilty. Unfortunately, there are probably instances in Singapore, where the innocent are not protected; and instances in the USA where the guilty are not punished.

Makes one look forward to the day when Christ is King and perfect justice is served.

not2brightGRAM said...

"And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free"

Give me innocent until PROVEN guilty, any day.

Katie said...

You just led me into about 40 minutes of wikipedia and news reading! That was really interesting and also really disturbing... it's a very complex issue. In the end, I found myself feeling much more hesitant to ever travel through SIN again, not because I have anything to hide, but because I'd fear what would happen to me if I were somehow framed. I agree that probably the US has erred on the side of not punishing some guilty, and SIN has probably erred on the side of punishing some innocent, but ... goodness. I think I'd choose to have my innocence protected... but then again, innocence is protected in a different way when nations take a hard stand against crime and cut down on it. It really is just a complex issue.