Can the PAP Let Go?

Those who are calling for the Sticker Lady to be let off because what she did was quirky, funny and/or artistic are barking up the wrong tree. And those who debate how to draw the fine line between art and graffitti are barking up another wrong tree.

Because that she did was vandalism, period. No different from vandals and graffiti “artists” who deface public or private property without the permission of the owners. Indeed—she did do some graffiti, aka ’My Grandfather Road’. That is the reason why graffiti “artists” in most countries do their stuff illicitly, and try not to get caught. Because it is an offence.

What is wrong in Singapore is not that we have vandalism laws. It is the harsh nature of the vandalism laws that the PAP enacted which Singaporeans should be up in arms against.

Michael Fay was sentenced to six strokes for vandalism. That is not even a violent offence! Some rapists don’t even get six strokes! Where is the principle that the punishment must fit the crime?

So lets stop debating whether what she did was art or not and start talking about why we want to punish vandals so heavily.

The other point is how the Government handles this episode will show whether the PAP is sincere about loosening up and letting go.

If the authorities simply let the Sticker Lady go, there will be huge implications. It will mean the PAP Govt is ready to back down from its authoritarian stance. It will also mean the PAP Govt is sincere about loosening up.

It will also mean the Govt will have no moral ground to punish other graffiti “artists” or vandals in future.

Is the PAP ready for that? Is Singapore ready for that?

On the other hand, if they prosecute her to the full extent of the law, if they press for a “deterrent” sentence, that will show nothing has changed in Singapore. It will show that PAP’s efforts at creating a more “vibrant” society, creating more “buzz”, etc. are just all lip service— restricted to big events like F1 and Singapore Swing. It will show that when it comes down to acts of individual creativity, things that really turn Singaporeans on, the PAP will not change and cannot deliver.

Is the PAP ready for that?

Oh well, another day, another headache for PAP.

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Someone who sees beyond PAP and "opposition" in Singapore politics. To understand more please see the Top 10 link below.
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5 Responses to Can the PAP Let Go?

  1. Lau says:

    there’s no way she will be ‘let go’. its how heavy a punishment they want to give her

  2. SE says:

    In this case, I feel is a fine line between real vandalism vs genuine street art for creative expressions.
    Did she cause serious damages such as denting, puncturing tires, spraying tar or making scratches to cars and private properties of individuals? Michael Fay did.
    Did she break into, trespass and make security breach into protected places just to make graffiti statements? Olivier did.
    All she did was placing some harmless stickers in places that elicited smiles and acknowledgement from the public. It is an artist’s call to make incremental change to our society. It is a tiny stamp and reinforcement of our identity, amidst the influx of foreign strangers. Yes, the spray paint on the road has crossed the edgy line, but comparing them to the past vandalizing acts committed, this is merely a helpless citizen channeling her voices to be heard in the torrents of noises and pleas to the ‘authority’. Why do you think she made that statement right in front of the MND building, instead of somewhere else? See how subtly or crassly she apply her craft here?
    Seen in the right context, it can send the right message for creativity to blossom on this island. Why see the message as being “Blatant vandalism is fine, kids” when it could just as easily be “We’ve decided to give you artistic idiots some OB markers so you don’t cause public nuisance in the wrong places next time?” After all, the overt message that severe vandalism brings fine, jail and cane had already been sent and enforced several times.
    Did it work? Apparently, it did.

    • Michael Fay was prosecuted for vandalism. One could have argued that he could have been more appropriately prosecuted for theft and willful damage to property, although even then, one should ask whether caning is an appropriate punishment.

      As for Oliver Fricker, he was charged separately under the Protected Places Act and under the Vandalism Act, and the sentence for vandalism was actually higher than the sentence for trespassing, can you believe that?

      Notwithstanding this, vandalism is well-defined under the Vandalism Act, and she has fallen foul of it. Now lets see how the PAP govt runs this.

  3. Saycheese says:

    In the olden days, before PC and Internet, the only way to vent your frustrations with criticism of LKY, was some hastily scrawled graffiti, often containing expletives, sometimes accompanied by obscene drawings. The government amended the vandalism law with enhanced penalties to stem this common practice.

    There are higher mortals and there are lower mortals. One can even run over the lower mortals on the road without much more than a slap on the wrist and one can make fun of higher mortals, even those in white at the Buankok Mrt Station. But when you offend LIMPEH with a sticker, the book will be thrown at you with the full force of the LAW.

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