Whitlam calls Singapore a "Rogue Chinese Port"

First of all, let me make the following statements:

  1. If I were Australian, I definitely would not support the Labour Party or have voted for Gough Whitlam if I were of that age
  2. I think Whitlam, who opened relations between Australia and the PRC, and many Australian politicians across the political spectrum have totally pandered to the PRC.
  3. I support the death penalty.

However, in Singapore’s case, their draconian drug policies represent true hypocrisy. This is a country, after all, that has VERY CLOSE relations with the military junta in Myanmar. The military junta makes billions of dollars from the drug trade.

Let me applaud Whitlam for calling Singapore a “rogue Chinese port” :bravo: :bravo:

news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4468644.stm

[i]A former Australian prime minister has called Singapore a “rogue Chinese port” for ignoring appeals to save a drug smuggler from the death penalty.

Mr Whitlam said the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, should go further by raising the issue at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta on Friday.

“If [the meeting] is of any use then it should be raised there, because it concerns many other countries - some larger, some smaller than the rogue Chinese port city,” he told The Age newspaper. [/i]

I guess the bad blood goes back a long time. Lee Kuan Yew called Whitlam a “sham white Afro-Asian.”

nationalobserver.net/2001_autumn_br3.htm

Lee Kuan Yew, who was called “Harry” by his British colonial masters because he thought he was a bona fide Englishman, should be called the “banana toilet nanny.”

Lee Kuan Yew, who was called “Harry” by his British colonial masters because he thought he was a bona fide Englishman, should be called the “banana toilet nanny.”[/quote]

I’d love to see Lee’s Albino grandchild going to school in Australia get busted for doing something illegal :smiling_imp:

I am so sick of hearing about the impending death penalty of this convicted drug smuggler. The media here in Australia is just absurd, they have gone way over the top with this case. This guy Van Nguyen was well aware of Singapore’s laws before he decided to carry the heroin and therefore, he should have to face whatever penalty the Singapore courts decide.

Do I think that sentencing a drug smuggler to death is a fair and just punishment, perhaps not.

However, it is Singapores right as an independant country to make its own laws. If foreigners don’t agree with those laws then just don’t go there.

Why can’t the Australian public and its government respect the rights of independant nations to make and uphold their own laws?? Why do so many Australians think it is their god given right to impose their own values and beliefs on other countries? I used to be a very proud Australian but my love for my country has been for some time gradually fading away.

Some of these small minded politicians who are protesting to Singapore at the moment are the same dickheads that continually whinge about Australia not being properly and officially accepted into Asia. Gee, I wonder why that is?? It wouldn’t be because we show absolutely no respect to our Asian neighbours, and their right to govern their own society, would it?? No, it couldn’t be that. Australians are such nice friendly people. Why would anyone want to bomb us??

Effectively what the Australian public and these politicians are saying to Singapore is that we don’t think that you should run your country like you are, but instead you should change your laws and you should become more like Australia. It is so so arrogant of Australian people and of the government to believe that they have the right to change the laws of an independent nation. Even though they will constantly deny it Australian people are very arrogant. They will continually criticise American arrogance but they seem totally oblivious to their own self inflated egos. Considering the difference in size and power between the US and Australia I would have to say that Australians are way more arrogant than Americans.

Australian people need to seriously examine the desperate problems within its own society before making judgements about other nations. Shouldn’t we first ask ourselves why so many young Australians are caught trying to smuggle drugs through South East Asia. Why do so many Australian have drug problems?? I don’t want to even get started on all of the other Australians currently held in Indonesian prisons for drug offences. But again their cases highlight the utter contempt many ordinary Australians and politicians hold for the legal systems and ultimately the wider societies of these Asian nations. Many Australians believe that because they are from Australia they are special and should not receive the same punishment as locals.

I have no problems with people opposing capital punishment but I have serious problems with a substantial number of Australians continually disrespecting other nations and then getting all flustered when they are not treated like kings in return. All this talk in the media about boycotting Singapore and its companies is very embarrassing. I really cannot believe it. What does this say to the rest of the world?? All this fuss over a convicted heroin smuggler. The message it actually sends to the region and the rest of the world is that Australia is a drug loving nation.

I could keep going on but I think I have said enough.

Erick

Erick, I understand your position but remember that most of the outrage comes from people who think that a civilized country should abolish the death penalty. It’s not just the Aussie media that’s at fault. I agree that Singapore is an independent country, but it can’t just do anything it pleases.

The city-state is run by a bunch of crypto-fascist cunts who want people to stop chewing gums, believe in eugenics as a form of family planning, and take newspapers to their phony courts for libel on a whim. The court system is tainted and has been faulted in the past for torturing people to extract confessions.

You know how apartheid in S. Africa ended? Not because the rest of the world respects S. Africa’s sovereignty.

Australia is Singapore’s largest trading partner in S. East Asia. Australians have spoken out against neo-Confucianist barbarism, as is their right to do so in a free country. It boils down to this: if you want to trade with us or if you want Singapore Airlines to have open air access to Australian air space, then you better listen to what people are demanding. It didn’t take guns or bombs to end apartheid in South Africa but ordinary people who demanded companies and their governments to stop doing business with a racist regime.

Taiwan has the same death penalty for drug trafficking; the law is still on the books but I don

[quote]However, it is Singapores right as an independant country to make its own laws. If foreigners don’t agree with those laws then just don’t go there.

Why can’t the Australian public and its government respect the rights of independant nations to make and uphold their own laws?? Why do so many Australians think it is their god given right to impose their own values and beliefs on other countries? I used to be a very proud Australian but my love for my country has been for some time gradually fading away.
[/quote]

Why not? If you think something is injust what is wrong with taking a stance. What you have said is just twaddle. If people in Australia don’t believe this guy should get hung for smuggling 400 grams of heroin then they have the right to protest that as strenuously as they see fit. It is a human life and one dearly valued by his family. Who gives a shit if it upsets the billycart in Singapore? The only values I see being imposed are the warped belief that a human life ought be taken for smuggling a little heroin. Values being imposed by a rope around one’s neck. That soverign independent country you are so proud of might make a nice home don’t get personal - mod. How about you move there?

Fox,

When did I say I was proud of Singapore?? I just said that I respect the right of its goverment and its citizens to uphold its own laws and not be influenced by the Australian government or its people. Please tell me did Johnny Howard show much respect to the United Nations and independant governments who have voiced serious concern over his treatment of refugees. I don’t think so. As usual he ignores any international criticism of his government.

It really surprises me that yourself and a number of other Australians view the smuggling of so much heroin as a minor crime. 26,000 hits of heroin, yeah that’s pretty small and insignificant isn’t it. It has the potential to destroy many more lives than one stupid drug smuggler. Why is it that Australians are generally so accepting of heroin addicts and smugglers? Why do I have to step on needles when I go to St Kilda beach? Why do I have to accept a heroin addict bashing my grandfather just so that he can get his next fix?? Why, tell me why I should just accept it as part of our culture?
Why do we have such pathetic weak penalties for all types of crime in Australia? Why because we don’t care about the victims of crime? Our legal system continually fails to support victims of crime. It is a complete joke.

[quote]It really surprises me that yourself and a number of other Australians view the smuggling of so much heroin as a minor crime. 26,000 hits of heroin, yeah that’s pretty small and insignificant isn’t it. It has the potential to destroy many more lives than one stupid drug smuggler. Why is it that Australians are generally so accepting of heroin addicts and smugglers? Why do I have to step on needles when I go to St Kilda beach? Why do I have to accept a heroin addict bashing my grandfather just so that he can get his next fix?? Why, tell me why I should just accept it as part of our culture?
Why do we have such pathetic weak penalties for all types of crime in Australia? Why because we don’t care about the victims of crime? Our legal system continually fails to support victims of crime. It is a complete joke.[/quote]

Your argument is irrelevant to your argument.

You don’t. If the Australian authorities were truly progressive they would consider curtailing the criminal element altogether and administering heroin to users. You know what? It works. Users lead perfectly productive lives when the need to seek out the stuff is removed. Methadone aint an answer, by the bye.

Oh that’s right, they tried to start a trial heroin administering program in the ACT, but guess what? The US threatened all manner of mayhem cos it clashed with their notion of a war on drugs. Threatened to call Australia a rogue nation or some such.

As to Singapore . . what a shithole. That state murders more people per head of population than any other country in the world. Want to continue to defend that shit pit? Go ahead. Do as Fox suggests, move there. When you’ve been there awhile, drop us a line.

HG

Thanks Chewycorns for starting the thread. Missed it till now as I’ve been down behind the Binlang Curtain for a few days (Jiayi) on R&R. Lovely weather for hot springs by the way.

The public outcry in Oz is justified I think from a purely humanitarian point of view. Even if you think the death penalty is OK, drug traffiking is probably not the first thing you’d attach it to. From what I’ve read, seems N. was a pawn in a larger game - maybe he should do time for the crime, but definitely not pay for it with his life. A punishment out of all proportion.

Slamming Singapore for doing stuff we don’t like is perfectly OK in my view, just keep it consistent. You can’t cry foul re. Singapore, and then give Hu Jin-tao a blowjob when he comes to town with a bag of gas contracts. Either grow a spine and draw a line in the sand, or shut your mouth.

Joe Average can afford to be fickle in his opinion, but I expect more from leaders and governments. Whitlam walks a fine line on all human rights arguments, in my view, as the jury is still out on East Timor. Not sure he’s the right person to be pointing the finger at Singapore, or anywhere else in SE Asia.

I agree whole-heartedly with HG (and the ‘The Economist’) on the decriminalization of rec. drugs - prohibition didn’t work for alcohol and just made Al Capone rich. There ARE, however, some serious social issues attached to opening these markets. Not least of all, the prospect of more stoned drivers on the road. Promoting responsible alcohol use is already a hard push.

Singapore is not all bad… I prefer Taiwan any day of the week because I like open societies, but I can also see the attraction for clean and tidy. Indeed, my current bout of asthma has left me yearning for authoritarian sollutions to Taipei’s traffic pollution. Only one car or scooter per family, and no more two-stroke engines. End of debate…

PS - I can’t claim Binlang Curtain as my own. Tigerman? Not sure.

I wish I could claim credit for that… but, I don’t think I originated that. It is a great term.

Damned fine point. I’ve never quite grasped the protracted adulation for Gough. Nonetheless, I do applaud his comments on Singapore.

An interesting aside on Singapore is that it appears to be openly competing with Bangkok as the regions sex tour destination - it now boasts all the old faithfuls, go go bars, brothels galore and with the added kicker of not closing at 2am like Bangkok (soon to be 12 midnight after the passage of recent legislation. Bugis street is returning, as are the Bugis boys. just remember while your enjoying your raunchy table top dancing, best keep the gum chomping discrete, unless you have a prescription of course.

By the way, Van Nguyen was only transiting in Singapore. He never left the airport. The gear was bought in Cambodia.

HG

[quote=“Erick Morillo”] However, it is Singapores right as an independant country to make its own laws. If foreigners don’t agree with those laws then just don’t go there. Erick[/quote] Especially when you’re carring drugs. Your vacation could be permanent.

Sure it can. :smiley: :smiley:

Many so called civilized countries impose the death penalty. It seems not to deter some people from commiting henious crimes. Anyway it’s not like the guy was innocent or unwitting. He knowingly trafficked in drugs and got caught in a country that imposes the death penalty.

It was the risk reward ratio and this time the risks have outweighed the rewards.

Just because he was in transit doesn’t mean he can’t get caught.

The Australian media are just too hysterical when it comes to things like this. They don’t scream so much when an Aussie gets the death penalty in the USA.

Fox,

That’s a rather silly statement “You’re argument is irrelevant to your argument”. What do you mean its irrelevant?? You don’t have anything worthwhile to say so you just say something meaningless. Of course it is relevant to a discussion about punishment for heroin trafficking. What do you think of Andrew Bolts article?? Please don’t tell me his argument is irrelevant to his argument.

Please explain to me guys why is that the Australian Federal Police turned the Bali 9 over to the Balinese police when they will almost certainly face the death penalty? The AFP is a government department, isn’t it? Now we have several government ministers protesting the impending execution in Singapore. I thought I heard Johnny praising the AFP over the arrests in Bali. I certainly didn’t hear John Howard, Gough Whitlam or Bob Hawke complaining about the AFP effectively sentencing the Bali 9 to death. Why is that I wonder?? I am a bit confused. How is the case of Van Nguyen any different to the Bali 9?? They were all young Australians trafficking large amounts of heroin through countries that practise capital punishment. Are we going to go through all this hysteria again when these guys are sentenced? I am very curious about the communication between the head of the AFP and other senoir ministers including the PM. Surely a number of government ministers knew that arrests were going to take place in Bali before the Balinese authorities actually arrested those guys. So why all the hoohah from politicians over the Van Nguyen case?

Huang Guang Chen,

I have been to Singapore a few times and its really not such a bad place. I have some Singaporean friends and they are generally very supportive of their countries strict laws. I also have two Aussie friends who are currently working for international financial organisations in Singapore and they really like it there. They enjoy the same basic freedoms as I do here in Australia and they live in one of the cleanest and safest nations in Asia. I think it is quite hypocritical of you and others on this forum to criticise Singapore without also criticising the place you call home, Taiwan. Taiwan has carried out many executions by lethal injection and firing squad in past. Nice way to die hey, I hope they can aim straight. Why don’t you have a look at the Amnesty International website and discover Taiwan’s squeaky clean record. Taiwan’s past governments have been very secretive about capital punishment so please if you are going to have a go at Singapore you should also take a good look at the performance of Taiwanese governments.

Drugs and death
Andrew Bolt
23nov05

SPOT the true barbarians. Is it really Singapore, about to hang an Australian?

Or is it Australia, which keeps producing such gallows fodder for Asia’s executioners – criminals so greedy or stupid as to traffic in drugs?
What the citizens of Singapore must think of us, if they heard our raucous squealing, I blush to imagine.

They could hardly think us civilised for sending out so many young traffickers – and then oinking in outrage when our neighbours catch and punish them.

I suspect Singaporeans tend to remember what too many Australians seem keen to forget – crimes must have consequences. And the clearer, often the better.

No wonder Singapore’s (government-controlled) Straits Times newspaper can hardly be bothered covering what’s front-page hysteria here – the scheduled execution on December 2 of Tuong Van Nguyen.

Nguyen, 25, is the Melbourne man caught at Changi airport in 2002 carrying 396g of heroin – or enough for 26,000 hits, any one of them possibly fatal.

Under Singapore’s law – as you are told on the plane before landing or can read on signs at the airport – trafficking in drugs means death.

It’s a message that is brutally simple and Singapore ensures not even brutal simpletons can doubt it. It doesn’t want people from countries with fuzzy notions of punishment – such as ours – thinking the death penalty applies only to those who are brown, or can’t find a good lawyer, a friendly journalist, a bribe or excuse.

So those found guilty almost inevitably hang. Got the message?

Many have indeed. A decade ago, Singapore was hanging more than 50 traffickers a year, mostly foreigners. Now the number is around single figures, and the city-state has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. You’d feel far safer walking down Orchard Rd in the evening than you would in our own Swanston St.

Check the difference with us. If you got busted here with heroin, would you reckon you were gone for sure?

Ask Nguyen’s twin brother, Khoa. In 1999, Khoa was twice convicted in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court of possessing and trafficking heroin. He received a sentence of just 15 months and of that served no more than nine. In 2001 he was convicted of affray over a savage gang brawl and given a suspended sentence. He’s had some chances.

But did the family learn its lesson? Instead, Nguyen decided to pay off his brother’s legal debts by smuggling heroin from Cambodia. Or that’s his excuse and Australians do excel at them.

Indeed, the Singapore Government has heard a few of the worst from Nguyen’s lawyers and supporters.

There’s the excuse that Nguyen shouldn’t be punished much because he was just passing through Singapore. There’s the excuse that he’s since admitted everything. There’s the excuse that he could help even more by nailing the Mr Bigs if he was kept alive. There’s the excuse that his hanging will contravene “international human rights law” – law no public has ever endorsed.

Is it any surprise that the Singapore Government, having heard all this, decided, in the words of Labor’s excitable foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, to “tell us all to go jump in the lake”?

SO now Singapore must deal with our threats, too – all so the drug trafficking brother of a convicted drug trafficker can evade the sentence for the crime for which he’s been rightly convicted.

Federal Labor is demanding a formal diplomatic protest. Others insist on trade boycotts. Deputy Premier John Thwaites is smearing Singapore by calling its death sentence “barbaric”.

Barbaric? It is true that this deliberate taking of a life is extreme, and sinful to some of the religious. I’m against it for being so merciless, and for the disrespect it shows for human life.

Yet is the execution of a drug trafficker any more barbaric than, say, the late-term abortion of a baby, or the killing of enemy soldiers or terrorists? These lines aren’t so crisply drawn any more.

Most of us who have no religion are left with little argument other than that the execution of Nguyen is out of proportion to the crime. And that killing him will hurt more than it helps. We’re arguing more about efficiency than morality.

But Singapore has made the same calculations and disagrees. Its leaders say heroin kills so many that those who smuggle it deserve their own death. And they warn that weak rules, weakly enforced, are more dangerous than capital punishment.

And, right on cue, some Australians show how it is right to fear what people may do if they aren’t raised to expect clear consequences from their actions.

You can hardly blame our young, of course. So many learned that failing at school did not mean even the repeating of a year. In fact, they barely had to sit a test.

But nowhere have consequences been so missing as in our fight against drugs. In fact, only yesterday we learned that one in eight young drivers surveyed by AAMI think there’s no problem driving while on drugs.

So when Schapelle Corby was jailed in Bali for 20 years for smuggling marijuana, no wonder young Australia howled. Jailed? For 20 years, before her appeal? For marijuana? The very notion of a punishment was shocking.

Of course, our own treatment of offenders is so much more … is civilised really the word I’m after?

Contrast the way Indonesia treated model Michelle Leslie, say, with the way we did. There were those Indonesians, jailing this poor girl for three months after two ecstasy tablets were found in her bag, but back home we have media outlets squabbling to offer her “tell-all” contracts for cash and fame.

What message does all our screeching and bleating send? It’s no wonder that even with Corby in jail, Nguyen on death row and two Australian smugglers in Vietnam also facing execution, nine of us were still dumb enough to allegedly smuggle heroin in Bali, too. They also now face death. More outrage to come.

To make this farce worse, even three Melbourne boys on a school trip to Fiji were last week caught by their teachers smoking marijuana.

Again, who are the real barbarians? If the boys had been handed over to the Fijians, they could have been jailed for a mandatory three months. How we’d have hollered about that, too.

Instead, they were whisked home to be given just one week of suspension from school. Good old Australian consequences.

So, lesson learned? Everyone clear? Or will we merely ramble on to our next drug sensation – yet another Australian caught overseas with stash in hand. And his country in hissing, spitting uproar to find that some people – not us, for sure, really, really do mean what they say when they warn: “Or else…”

[quote][/quote]

Lot in there Erick, and a few points I do agree with you on. Oz international travellers are not the smartest bunch on the block - if you get told ahead of time that you are running a high risk with traficking, you can’t complain too much when you get caught. The article you attached demonstrated pretty clearly in my view that many of our antepodian friends are making a habit of ignoring the laws of the countries they travel through. Clearly, there has to be some level of personal responsibility in all the cases cited.

But there was some other stuff in there that I can’t buy. First, let’s be clear on this, your friends in Singapore don’t enjoy the same basic freedoms as you do in Oz. Singapore doesn’t have open elections, a guarrenteed freedom of the press or a separate judiciary. It is an authoritarian state - some like it that way, but hey, too bad if you don’t. You’ll get thrown in jail, or, as is more likely these days, you’ll get sued. Any turd tipped on Singapore for its authoritarian tendencies is justified if you value what you have at home. Sadly, democracy is something many in Oz take for granted or worse still, simply don’t understand…

Second, many foreigners here in Taiwan criticize the place for its manifold shortcomings. More recently I myself have been taking every opportunity I can to pull the place down for its economic policy. I string for a couple of news agencies here, and there have been way too many examples in recent times where the govt has made simply stupid policy decisions. Often I am left extremely worried about the future of the place - without a return to decent growth, Taiwan will end up looking like the Phillipines on a bad day in the not too distant future. Criticism under these circumstances is justified and called for. But then, I can say this stuff and, for the most part , not get busted for it (true, this IS a grey area as Taiwan is not yet a fully consolidated democracy). This I value very highly, and is the thing that keeps me coming back despite the fact my employment opportunities are fast drying up here. I would not get away with nearly as much in Singapore or much less Mainland China. From an ethical point of view, I doubt my ability to live in either place without having to bury a chunk of personal integrity. Having some experience of the finance industry, however, I appreciate that your two friends would probably have fewer issues in this regard.

EDIT - I have taken the deficit of criticism point as a general comment on the expat view of Taiwan. As regards specifically the death penalty, some of us are for it, some against. If any Ozzie is stupid enough to get busted dealing drugs here, just as Singapore, I’d add my voice to the opposition.

Ditto on the stupidity of Oz travellers Erick. After all, I’ve been to Bali too.

However:

Actually I once called Taiwan home. Miss it dearly I hasten to add, but I’m no hypocrite. I oppose the death penalty in Taiwan and note that Taiwan is moving to abolish it - too slowly for my mind, but they are doing it. Still, check the figures, Taiwan executes relatively few people, certainly when compared to the US or Singapore. Singapore leads the world in executions per head of population. Safe and clean place . . . just don’t act badly. And what the hell is it with caning people? You do know the score on that one don’t you? http://www.pekingduck.org/archives/000383.php

By the bye, did you hear about that Singapore airline pilot that was deported for criticising the former head of state? Singapore is up there with China in my book.

[quote]Activist pilot forced to flee Singapore
scmp - Monday, May 3, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS in Singapore
A Malaysian-born pilot who angered Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew, began a new life in Australia yesterday after the government ordered him to leave.

“There is no regret - bit of mixed feelings - more sadness than anything else,” former Singapore Airlines pilot Ryan Goh said before flying to Perth.

Well-wishers saw Mr Goh off at the airport security gate, while his 12-year-old daughter, Kelly, fought back tears as she kissed her father goodbye late on Saturday.

After 26 years in Singapore, Mr Goh will live with his wife and their three other children in Perth. Kelly will stay in Singapore to continue her schooling.

The pilot’s troubles began after he led a vote in November to dismiss pilot union leaders who had accepted proposals by Singapore Airlines - which is majority-owned by the government - to slash wages, lay off staff and force employees to take unpaid leave.

Mr Lee angrily confronted Mr Goh at a meeting with pilots in February, accusing him of stirring up trouble within the union.

Mr Lee ruled Singapore from its independence in 1965 until he stepped aside in 1990, but still has considerable clout under the title of senior minister. Two days after his meeting with Mr Lee, Mr Goh was ordered to leave Singapore. Authorities branded him an “undesirable immigrant”, and he now cannot enter Singapore without applying for permission. [/quote]

Oh yeah, I work in finance, I know what finance people like . . lashings and hangings are all cool for that lot. :wink:

Cheers.

HG

[quote]That’s a rather silly statement “You’re argument is irrelevant to your argument”. What do you mean its irrelevant??

[/quote]

You argue that the Australian government and people are in no position to oppose strenuously the death penalty in Singapore because Singapore is an independent State. Then you make some rant about how bad heroin to justify the death penalty in Singapore. Then you rant more about hypocrisy in Australia because Australia has refugees in detention centers. Then you rant about foreigners living in Taiwan being hypocrites because Taiwan has the death penalty. There is so much irrelevant argument to your argument that the Australian government, which doesn

I think some people conveniently forget that Australia had the death penalty until the mid 1980s. So what does that say, Australia only became a ‘civilised’ society in the late 1980s.

This information is taken from the NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

Australia Changes its Position on the Death Penalty
On 16 February 2003 the Australian PM said in a Sunday morning television interview that the Bali bombers