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.