Friday, February 12, 2010

Singaporeans have a low view of Internal Security Department?

After posting my observation on what can we deduce from 'Rony' saga about politics, society, and religious community, I received feedbacks that I would be in trouble with the Singapore's Internal Security Department (ISD). That is very puzzling indeed.

I don't think ISD, an intelligence agency, is so unintelligent to think that my observation is a threat. I didn't say whether do I condone nor against Rony's action in the post. Neither did I fan any fire of militantism or fundamentalism or invite anarchy or chaos. In fact I wasn't concern at all with the feat that Rony pulled. My observation is a view on the current state of affair and its implications.

Some thought that I was trying to push for Christendom over Singapore's society. Come on, those who learn the history of the Church or Christianity would know how unpleasant that was. Among informed historians, they know that the moment emperor Constantine presided over religious issues and subsequently emperor Theodosius I pronounced Christianity as the state's religion, that is the beginning of the fall of the church.

Some thought that I was criticizing many local churches. On this, yes, I acknowledge that I did and still do. Many churches need to be critiqued. They are not fallible. Among all else, these churches should be the ones that are able to handle society well. Only if they equipped themselves with their own two millennial worth of history and theology.

Throughout the years, most churches have forfeited themselves over this. Untrained pastors and church leaders are prevalent. Rony's case is just one manifestation of such calamity. AWARE saga is another. The list goes on. Christian theologians on the other hand are going around beseeching Christians to work together with the government to promote the welfare of the nation. Yet when it comes to deal with real issues, they backed off (I know of a local prominent professional theologian who is like this). Saying that that might invokes the wrath of ISD.

There are others, on the other side, that is going around haunting any Christians' effort to seek the welfare of the country. Whenever someone identifies him/herself as a Christian, immediately the person will be thought of as militant and thus discredits his/her contribution to the society (then threatening the individual with ISD). Grow up! Locals don't want foreigner's opinion over local politics. They should extend that to the milieu as well, not merely the opinion. Stop adopting foreign milieu to deal with similar issue in local context. Here is not America nor UK. Show to Kishore Mahbubani that indeed locals can think.

I don't know why locals would think that the ISD would implicate them, not least me. I think ISD is intelligent enough to understands my post as well-mannered and not harmful.

Such paranoia over ISD only exists among those who have a low view on the department. Departments dealing with internal security is a given in all country to keep peace and order. In Malaysia, it's called 'Special Branch'. In fact Singapore's ISD was known as the 'Special Branch'. It is precisely I think highly of ISD that I shared my observation, not because I think less of them. Locals should hold higher regards for their ISD than a foreigner.

7 comments:

blogpastor said...

Shhh....now you're really in trouble with the ISD *whisper* :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kenny... okay shhh.. :)

kelvintan73 said...

ISD is the standard fear tactic used by Singaporeans to keep others in line, even when there is no real threat.

Its like living in a prison for many years, a prisoner is finally released.

Yet, he walks around a shopping center, when he sees security cameras there, he immediately becomes very careful what he does.

It is because he has been socially conditioned for many years in prison to tread in fear for there are many security cameras in prisons. Even though we all know that the cameras in shopping centers have no threat.

-ben said...

"Pastor: I've let many people down"

Pastor Rony Tan is a changed man. Perhaps you could dispense some advice on civil disobedience and the unnecessary observance of conflict avoidance, to Rony Tan as well. He suddenly seems 110% the contrite penitent, and 100% devoid of your remarkable bravery. His contact with the ISD must have been a landmark event in his life: how little it took to redefine his evangelical agenda!

I'm beginning to enjoy tea more and more. Tea is such a great invention: it encourages social events; facilitates social exchange; aids digestion, creates secondary industries such as beautiful pottery, tea lounges, skilled servers; and, some profess, even cures cancer — of the body and mind.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Kelvintan73,

Good point you have raised. Thank you. :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi ben,

Thank you for the head-up.

BTW, I don't get your tea-liking metaphor. Could you elaborate what do you mean? :) Happy CNY to you too!

-ben said...

Hi Sze Zeng,

BTW, I don't get your tea-liking metaphor. Could you elaborate what do you mean?


Oh, I'm just trying to justify parting with a big chunk of my angpow money at TWG Tea. Health pundits tell me it's better than bak kua, but my stomach tells me differently...

Hmm... mind over matter?