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Netizen: Do elections mean S’pore is more democratic than country with no elections?

But the people here have to contend with many restrictive laws, he says

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Singapore — A netizen has compared Singapore to China and asked whether, just because we have free elections every five years, it means that this country is more democratic than a country that does not have elections, like China.

In a social media post on Monday (Dec 23), Mr Foong Swee Fong, 55 and a kite-surfing instructor, began by saying that governments all over the world fear people power the most and, in particular, mass civil disobedience. As such, they attempt to keep their people distracted, therefore enabling them to focus on governance.

He wrote: “Regardless of the form of government, whether democratic or autocratic, the people have to be kept in line.”

Mr Foong observed that, in an autocratic country, the government is more direct, often using brute force to quell disobedience. In a democratic country, however, the same does not apply because the incumbents stand the risk of being voted out. “So, they resort to brainwashing and draconian laws.”

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He said: “It doesn’t mean that China doesn’t have brainwashing. They do but theirs is more direct and crude and people know and, often times, don’t care.”

Referring to China wanting to introduce a new syllabus for social studies in Hong Kong, he added that the people there recognised it as propaganda and revolted against it, resulting in the government backing down.

In Singapore, he added, students, parents, teachers took what was taught in social studies as the gospel truth.

Referring to Singapore’s Protection From Online Falsehoods And Manipulation Act (Pofma), which aims to curb fake news, Mr Foong said: “As for laws, China doesn’t have a fake news law, they just ban WhatsApp and Facebook.”

He wrote: “China also doesn’t have laws against public demonstrations, people can gather and protests and if it gets out of hand, the government may just send in the tanks, as in Tiananmen. But here, you need a permit, and without one, even a one-man demonstration is a crime.”

He added: “Just because we have free elections every five years, we have more democracy and freedom, in fact we have less, having to contend with many restrictive laws.”

TISG has reached out to Foong for comment and clarification on his post. /TISG

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