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Why I fear being a blogger in Singapore




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By: I am a Singaporean

I recently started blogging.  I felt like I had a lot to say. I wanted a voice. I wanted to be heard. I wanted people to think, and to debate with others about the various topics that I write about.

I’ve always wanted to start a blog. I have been in contemplation for a long time. Fear was holding me back. Who or what do I fear? I don’t fear trolls, I don’t fear negative comments, I don’t fear failure, but what I do fear is own my government.

In my mind,  I’m the most honest person my thoughts will ever meet. I never lie to myself, In writing, however, not so much.

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Nowadays,  it is not uncommon to read about Singaporean bloggers getting into trouble. Since we have limited freedom of speech in this country, these guys must have crossed the line somehow.

The problem is, I do not know where this line begins myself. I’m not sure if I am going to cross that line one day and get into trouble. Even while writing this post right now, I have fear. I have to filter my thoughts carefully.

There are new laws added all the time. I just read a couple of days ago about how we are not allowed to write about certain court cases in Singapore. Now imagine if I didn’t know that and gave my opinion about a certain case in this post. I’d be screwed!

If my government’s intention was to instill this fear in me, they did a fantastic job because it is working. This fear has been instilled in me since was I in Primary school. I used to fear my teachers,  mind you, they used to beat us (I’ll save that for another post). Then there was National Service. If there were a Richter scale for fear, mine would have been on a constant 8.5.

I’m not against the emotion called fear. Fear is necessary; it is evolutionary. We need it to survive. Let’s say you were walking in the Masai Mara in Kenya. From afar you see a Lion. Without any fear, you approach the lion because you want to pet it. You think it’s cute. The part of your brain that understands cuteness is working fine, but fear part is not. So you walk towards the Lion, planning on rubbing its belly. “SNAP,” the lion now got you by the throat. Because that is what a lion does, they clench down on your throat until you stop breathing before they eat you. They do this to prevent injury, as they do not want you to struggle while they are eating you.

Now imagine if no one in the world has fear. The human species would cease to exist. In fact, no living things would survive, because even animals have fear.  Not everyone would get eaten by a lion, but some a bear, some would jump off a cliff, people would commit murder and rape as they have no fear of being punished for their crimes.

So you see fear is necessary. It keeps people in check. But fear of me expressing myself in writing is sad. Writing is beautiful, but then again writing can also bring down a nation. In a way, I do see how the Singaporean government takes writing seriously and try to instill this fear in me.  Am I planning on doing anything about this? Nope. I live in this land; I’m going to respect its rules. I remember loving chewing gum as a kid; Singapore banned it in 1992, and I’ve stopped chewing ever since then.

I will, however, continue to write without stepping on anyone’s toe. Maybe some days I’ll keep things ‘light’ and write about the “Top 10 places to eat in Singapore” or “18 childhood memories in Singapore.” But for now, I’ll continue to express myself through my writing without rubbing the Lion’s belly.

Republished from the blog, ‘I am a Singaporean‘.

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