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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A story a friend of mine told me a while back but has just decided to make more public.

Low crime doesn't mean no crime! I applaud our police for their efforts to keep our streets safe.

Okay, most of you know that in a couple of my recent mails, I've been hinting strongly about something about me having a few choice words the sedition act.

Well, here's the catch. I've been arrested, dumped in cantoment's lockup for three and a half hours, had my statement taken twice, and let out on a 10k bail - it's lapsed since then, so I'm no longer on bail. Anyway, the investigation is still "ongoing", with my computer and laptop having been siezed "for investigation".

The backstory?

Here goes: Three months back (today's the third month anniversary of my case. whee.), I kind of made an enemy online, thanks to a little flaming session. Back then, it was the height of the Jyllands-Posten/Muhammed pictures issue, and following some moronic arguements of his (We'll call this guy FundieP) on Christianity against someone else, I couldn't help but step in, and pretty much publicly humiliated him.

Dumb thing however, was that FundieP knew of my blog, thanks to a sigining off signature generated automatically. And being the fundamentalist Christian he was, he sent me a mail, requesting that an earlier cartoon I had on the blog be removed. [Police annex A, taken from hamncheez.com - cartoon of a zombie version of Jesus biting on a little boy's head. Boy is asking "why is my messiah trying to eat my brain?" and line below says "on the third day, Jesus rose from his tomb"]

Well, to those who know me, I'm strongly anti-fundamentalist, so I dumbly didn't reply to that mail, and instead went to search for a couple more pictures to agitate FundieP. Bad idea. [Police annex B, C, D respectively: licenceplateworld.com - picture of licenceplate saying "jesus loves you, everyone else thinks you're an asshole"; somethingawful.com - fake CNN image of Jesus on paper; and somethingawful.com - edited photo of Last Temptation of Christ, with Jesus looking at a KFC bucket.]

Well, FundieP made a police report. About 2 weeks later, I had the police knocking, got my computer siezed, was arrested and dumped into hotel Cantoment for 3.5 hours, and let out on bail for breaching 4(1)(c)-290 - our beloved sedition act.

[4. —(1) Any person who — (c) prints, publishes, sells, offers for sale, distributes or reproduces any seditious publication; shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction for a first offence to a fine not exceeding $5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both, and, for a subsequent offence, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years; and any seditious publication found in the possession of that person or used in evidence at his trial shall be forfeited and may be destroyed or otherwise disposed of as the court directs.]

6 days before I was due for a three and a half week US trip.

I was pretty much a nervous wreck those few days, I eventually went, although it took 2 of my best friends (and an insanely high US phone bill) to convince me that I would need the trip - my passport wasn't impounded, and the police extended the bail to 4 weeks to let me fly, although I almost wanted to call the flight off.

Switch back to present, and well, I've told the story to only a select few so far, but to be honest (and to sound stupid), I never actually decided to read the entire Sedition Act till today, after 3 months. Sure, I read the earlier portions (about section 1-5, but not the later portion. Yes, berate me on my stupidity, but I was seriously freaked out for that long to not notice article 6.

[Evidence. 6. Cap. 97. (2) No person shall be convicted of any offence referred to in section 4(1)(c) if such person proves that...he did not know and had no reason to believe that the publication had a seditious tendency.]

and, linking back,

[Seditious tendency. 3. —(1) A seditious tendency is a tendency — (e) to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.]

While Malays and Islam are interwined, it would take a long shot to link Christianity as a dividing issue between races or classes of the population of Singapore.

For an additional note, the Da Vinci Code would be probably be more seditious, if one goes by the severity of the "evidence" - mildly put, it virtually criminalises Christianity as a conspiracy, and that Christianity itself is illicit (Of course, all monotheist religions claim that all other religions are illicit anyway), plus, its publicity is about a few hundred times more (now showing?) than my now-defunct blog.

(anyway, I called the police today to ask on the case, as well as my computer, and the investigating officer sounded pretty miffed, just telling me that the case was still "under investigation")
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