A recent event provided testimony that Singapore is one of the “safest” places in the world. It has few disturbances to social harmony, and when it does, the agitator is swiftly put behind bars. The event also showed that the Singapore police force must have very few crimes to solve and very few law breakers to chase after, judging by the way they can afford to form human barricades to prevent Chee Soon Juan, an opposition politician, and his supporters from staging a protest march to the convention centre where the IMF-World Bank meetings are held. Throughout the prolonged stand-off over the right to protest, changing shifts of police kept guard over Chee and his supporters at Hong Lim Park, the venue of the Speakers’ Corner. Six policemen even accompanied each one to the park’s bathroom, according to newspaper reports. In other words, the police must be very free these days.
A Bangkok Post article quoted a spokeswoman as saying that the police were “engaging” Chee and his associates. But not the way Christopher Obsburn, a 27-year-old British tourist, saw it: “I’m astounded by the police preventing the legitimate movement of people. There’s a disproportionate reaction and it shows another side to Singapore.”
The same article, however, contained an error:
Registering with police is required. Speakers are prohibited from discussing subjects that could ignore [ignite] religious or racial violence or threaten national security.
When asked about the police stand-off, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, minister for education and second minister for finance, said: “Our view has been very clearly articulated. It’s in the press, you can read it.”
There you have it. “Articulated” in the press, not “reported”. Another Freudian slip?