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#61: Detentions and Abstentions

Kirsten Han
Kirsten Han
3 min read
#61: Detentions and Abstentions

There were some LGBT-related stories this week but I’m not sharing them in this issue because it’s PINK DOT DAY, which means I’ll be in Hong Lim Park taking photos and live-tweeting into the night. I’m planning a little photo essay as an example of the sort of things I’ll be doing as a “thank you” to paying subscribers—that should be in your inboxes on Sunday morning!


Whaaaaaa…?

This newsletter usually focuses on politics/democracy, human rights, social justice, civil liberties and civil society (i.e. the things that I personally am most interested about and in a position to comment on), and this story is arguably none of those things, but I’m leading with it anyway because it’s just wtf.

James Nalla Rajan Naidu Adhiseshan has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after 13 years on the run (in Singapore). 13 years ago, he’d slashed a newspaper vendor at a 7-Eleven, but absconded before he was charged in court for that offence. Two years ago, he started using a photocopy of an identity card belonging to a guy in prison (Chandran). He then just kept using that stolen identity to get medical treatment, until this year when the two men ended up going to the hospital on the same day. And the two men actually bumped into each other, and Chandran helped Naidu carry out the registration… which was when it was all discovered.

WHAT IS THIS STORY

Detained without trial

Three people were arrested under the Internal Security Act. One man has been detained, while another two have been given restriction orders. The Ministry of Home Affairs says that they’ve been radicalised and were supportive of terrorism. As with all things ISA, there’s only the government’s side of the story, since the guy who’s been detained won’t be charged in court or given a trial.

Why we abstain?

The International Labour Organisation has adopted a new treaty against violence and harassment at work. There was overwhelming support for it; in fact, only six countries didn’t support it. Embarrassingly, Singapore is one of them.

Homeless in Singapore

An announcement that the 2019 Homeless Street Survey is still calling for volunteers. Training will be provided and the survey will be done one night in July. It’s a really important study that gives us much-needed data about the issue of homelessness in Singapore, so sign up if this sounds like something you’d be interested in helping with!

Nominated Member of Parliament Anthea Ong has also penned an op-ed about a greater societal push to provide support for people who are homeless.

🤔🤔🤔

The government’s giving out (our) money to us again. 1.4 million eligible citizens are going to get up to S$300 in GST cash vouchers. There’ll be MediSave top-ups too.

No one’s going to say no to money, but it has led to a bit more muttering about whether this is the ang pao that comes before a general election.

Also, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act has been assented to and published in the Government Gazette, meaning it’ll be in place for election-time, whenever that is. 😰

Are they going to introduce any more laws during the next Parliament sitting?

And one more…

A former agent of Keppel Offshore & Marine has plead guilty to paying bribes to Brazilian officials. Which reminds me: what’s going on with Singapore’s probe into this scandal?


The (brief) return of the visual break

I stopped doing this because the newsletters were already pretty long, but this is just too good not to share.


About the neighbours…

The one LGBT-related piece I do want to share, though, is this beautiful comic from an Indonesian artist about her experience as a queer Muslim, and the need for community.

Happy Pride Month, teman-teman LGBT! Kamu disayang.

Weekly Wraps