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Much ado about differentiated rules
Covid-19 restrictions differentiating between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people have kicked in. This has not been well-received in certain quarters, and the most high-profile unhappy person has been Brad Bowyer, formerly of the Progress Singapore Party. In social media posts, he likened these differentiated measures to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, and refused to back down even after being called out (including by Singaporean Jews and an actual Holocaust historian). The Israel embassy has, without naming Bowyer, condemned such comparisons, as has the German embassy.
Bowyer's rants about vaccines and Covid-19 rules and restrictions have prompted people to ask what the Progress Singapore Party is doing — are they really going to just let a member spread misinformation like that? PSP's silence was getting more and more conspicuous and problematic. In the end, Bowyer seemed to do a "you can't fire me, I quit!", resigning from the party. PSP's secretary-general, Francis Yuen, later told The Straits Times that the party "doesn't believe in silencing members" and that they didn't make statements before because they didn't want to be "part of the controversies that he has created, and the views that he made in his own private capacity".
In his long Facebook post announcing his resignation, Bowyer said that now he's out of the party, the "gloves are coming off". He also complained about "cancel culture", "keyboard warriors", "virtue signalling", and "snowflakes". 😮💨
Have questions about vaccines?
The majority of the population in Singapore are fully vaccinated or on the way to being fully vaccinated, but some might still be hesitant, or have concerns and questions about Covid-19 vaccines. I understand that it can be daunting: the media coverage can be confusing, and sometimes it can feel really overwhelming and hard to tell what's true and what's not about the vaccines. Here's an opportunity to talk directly to medical professionals about vaccinations, and ask them any questions you might have.
On 21 August 2021, from 3pm–5pm, Dr Paul Tambyah, president of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection, Dr Wong Shing Yip, Alexander, Deputy Chief Operations Officer, Singapore Paincare Holdings, and Dr Kwong Seh Meng, Managing Partner of Raintree Health LLP, will be taking questions about Covid-19 vaccines. Attendees will be broken up into break-out groups, with a doctor in each one, so you can ask your questions and raise your concerns in a smaller-group setting.
This is an event for people who are not yet sure about whether they should get vaccinated, not sure if they can get vaccinated, and also for people who might be having trouble talking to their family and friends about vaccines and getting vaccinated. Sign up here.
Help spread the word! Feel free to download this graphic and send it to people via WhatsApp/Telegram/whatever apps you use:
Got some more…
⚖️ Human rights lawyer M Ravi has filed an application to the court pointing to the disproportionate number of minorities, specifically Malays, on death row in Singapore. As he put it in his Facebook announcement: "17 Malay death-row inmates [are] seeking declarations against the Attorney-General that their rights to life (Article 9) as well as equality and equal protection (Article 12) under the Singapore Constitution had been violated as a result of them being discriminated as persons of Malay ethnicity when they were prosecuted for drug offences carrying the death penalty."
🔐 The government has published an update on their data protection efforts. They say the number of data incidents increased by 44% in 2020 compared to 2019, but that these incidents weren’t assessed to be of “high severity”. Click on the tweet below to read an important thread by Indulekshmi about the silence on accountability.
▪️ The 16-year-old River Valley High School student remanded for psychiatric evaluation has finally been able to speak to his parents via a video call yesterday. It's the first time he's been able to speak with them since he was arrested for the alleged murder of another student. His family had originally asked for permission to speak to him on Tuesday, saying that they just wanted to check on his well-being. Their request was rejected then.
👩🏻💻 Singapore Internet Watch, which describes itself as “a student-run group focusing on research at the intersection of Singapore’s internet and society”, has launched! Check out their first newsletter to learn more about what they do. I’m excited for them!
📚 As you might have already seen, I recently wrote a couple of stories about international NTU faculty and students stranded abroad. I also put together a version for University World News, and put together a Twitter thread setting these stories within the wider context. Someone has since started a petition urging the university to allow international students to study remotely while they're struggling to get permission to return to Singapore.
💰 The Transformative Justice Collective (of which I'm a member) is raising money for our TJC Support Fund. We work with families of death row inmates, and this fund goes towards helping them with needs like legal costs (such as filing fees for court applications) or other urgent expenses. You can contribute here. Remember to choose "TJC Support Fund" in the dropdown menu, or the money will end up going into our general operations fund! (But if you'd like to donate to our general operations, we'll thank you too. 😛)
🤣 This is a satirical video about safe distancing enforcement officers entering homes without warrants, don’t POFMA please
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