I am disappointed that the Press Secretary to the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts sent such a strongly worded letter to TODAY (July 3) rebuking mr brown for his “diatribe” against some Government policies in his June 30 column, “S’poreans are fed up with progress”.
Among other things, mr brown was accused of having “poured sarcasm on many issues”, “blaming the Government for all that he is unhappy with” and making a calculated move “to encourage cynicism and despondency”. Most surprisingly, mr brown was accused of being a “partisan player in politics”.
When I read mr brown’s June 30 column, it never struck me that any of the above accusations applied to him. It is precisely because mr brown wrote the article in his trademark light-hearted fashion, that I am sure most Singaporeans (myself included) did not pay much attention to the substance of his arguments (if they can even be called arguments).
mr brown is a humourist, not a political activist (unless the ISD has discovered otherwise). Anyone who has been reading his columns and listening to his podcasts regularly would judge this to be so.
By coming down so hard on mr brown – and TODAY for publishing his article – the Government has provided more fodder for its critics who accuse it of being intolerant of those who stick their head out criticise its policies.
I am concerned that, after this admonition from the Government, TODAY will henceforth refuse to publish any of mr brown’s political commentaries. For the sake of the future of “multiple modes” of political engagement in Singapore, I hope that mr brown does not turn his political humour to silent mode.
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