Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Prof Ho explains T-shirt incidents
THE police may have over-reacted in their bid to keep law and order here when Singaporeans and Myanmar expatriates tried to show support for the beleaguered people of Myanmar, acknowledged Senior Minister of State for Home Affairs and Law Ho Peng Kee.
Two recent incidents — where police told people to take off T-shirts bearing messages such as "Stop the bloodshed in Myanmar" — occurred at a time when "emotions were running high" among the Myanmar community here.
"I agree that the police were perhaps being overly-cautious, but let me give the assurance that its officers did not intend to embarrass or offend the persons wearing the T-shirts," Associate Professor Ho said in reply to MPs' questions.
He added that the dynamics of group behaviour are "often not entirely rational and can be stirred by emotive slogans and exploited by others for their own cause".
Nominated MP Eunice Olsen asked if student activities to highlight the situation in Myanmar constituted a security threat. The three local universities had teamed up to hold a series of activities early this month, including a vigil at the Singapore Management University that was videotaped by security officers.
To her concern that such surveillance would dampen Singaporean youth's keenness to spontaneously express their views on global affairs, Assoc Prof Ho said the intent was "not to intimidate the students".
Police forces all over the world, including London, conduct similar videotaping activities to aid investigations, in the event that wrongdoing arises.
"It's not something extraordinary. No ill intentions are meant … and the basic message is that if you're innocent and you're not out to break the law, there should be no fear," he said. — jasmine yin
So in the mean time the police can intrude, shove a camera in your face, harass, tail you, and continue to offend you! And if you are fearful it must mean your intentions are ill, you are not innocent, and you are out to break the law! You must not question the police's intent, you must question your own!