Singapore jails teenager for hurting God's feelings


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/29/singapore-jails-teenager-for-h.html


#2

If your god is so human that he (of course it’s a he) has a sad when a teenager says something, then he’s not a very good parent…and literally not god-like.


#3

GOD POLICE Yes it’s a thingy.


#4

Well after reading his blog I think he’s an asshole who is having his rights infringed upon. I can’t support his writings any more than I can support Charlie Hebdo for the things they publish but in both cases they should have full freedom of expression.


#5

I think this is more of an issue with the Singapore government and their views on free speech.


#6

You don’t think it has anything to do with religion?

There are a lot of countries which are not as draconian as Singapore in many ways, but still react particularly strongly when the dominant religion is disrespected. In other words, it’s a more global issue than ‘just’ the infringement of free expression in one country.


#7

Singapore is like super fucking strict about a lot of things. IIRC they banned chewing gum.


#8

Threatens?
This is Singapore!


#9

I think it has everything to do with the Singapore government. God didn’t sentence the kid to jail, the government did.


#10

If anything, Singapore is an Islamic nation.


#11

“… but the boy’s evidently got prospects …”

I’d be curious to know what those prospects are.
How is he funded? Is he a non-profit? Sole proprietor? 4chan wannabe?
Lives-in-his-parent’s-basement type? Spectacularly successful dotcom startup?

Religion’s an easy target, usually because it melds people’s irrationality, their cultural context, and their hope for a connection to an open future into a myth-making model that can be readily mocked.

Even I can recognize that, and I like to think that I’m a level-headed theologian.

So yeah, if he wanted to offend people like me, he did. But so what? That still doesn’t address the fact that religion is something many people connect to as part of the human condition much more easily than other paradigms of human progress and regress, like science.

How do you address the parts of a religion in such a way as to see clearly what its aim or direction is? That’s the bigger question. And that’s why he’s a teenager and I’m an underemployed academic.

As described to me in a recent church discussion with a believer: “If I had to think that deeply about what I believe, I don’t think I’d come to church.”

Well, there you go. Some people don’t want to have to deal with the intricacies of either science or faith. They just want to move on with their lives and make sense of it using whatever ad hoc package they can avail themselves of.

In Westernized countries, religion is now a luxury good. This is not the case in many other countries with varying levels of human development. That doesn’t mean nobody truly believes in what they’re saying, just that it’s what they understand at the moment of their existence. And if their existence is threatened, then you get friction, just as you would with climate science and big-business think tanks.

AFAIK (in the lifetime I’ve spent thinking about this), religion is about constancy in the midst of chaos, and science is about provability in the midst of scarcity. Is that helpful to understanding this?

If you want to “edgelord” (WTF does that mean?) then be my guest.


#12

It’s a little more nuanced than that: they don’t sell it in-country, but you are allowed to bring it in and even chew it. The issue is, there are specific penalties (not sure about the details, since I only chew gum on airplanes, so it wasn’t a need-to-know situation) if you litter with it.

I have friends who live there, and I can highly recommend visiting. Living there enjoyably, however, would require one to be fond of authority and economically privileged.


#13

#14

The “red dot in a sea of green” is an Islamic nation? Am I missing the joke here?


#15

Singapore was islamic when they were part of Malaysia, and their flag still has islamic elements. IIRC their official language is Bahasa Malaysia.

But I don’t actually believe Singapore cares much about religion now.


#16

There are four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English. This gives a good clue as to the mix of people there, ethnically speaking, and of course several of those groups are mixed from a religious point of view.


#17

Yes and Singapore was thrown out of Malaysia because its leaders insisted on equality of race and creed. Most Singaporeans aren’t Muslim. There is no official state religion. Have you even been to Singapore?


#18

I know it’s petty, protest review their embassy, tourism gates, Facebook…


#19

It pretty much means this. You read that and the only thing that comes to mind is, “wooooow, sooo edgy /s”.

He’s an annoying kid, but there are plenty of those. He did a picture of Margaret Thatcher and Lee Kuan Yew having anal sex, so what? He’s not a criminal, and treating him like a criminal only makes him into a martyr and not just another stupid kid.


#20

Judge Roy Moore filed an amicus brief for the prosecution.