Political humour should be seen in perspective

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.

Author: Gerald Giam

Gerald Giam is the Member of Parliament for Aljunied GRC. He is a member of the Workers' Party of Singapore. The opinions expressed on this page are his alone.

One thought on “Political humour should be seen in perspective”

  1. Yeah, man. Sounds like a dampener to me. Takes the fun out of politics. But, wait, I’m forgetting, its not supposed to be fun. Its a matter of life and death. No laughing matter, I guess. Haha. I think I heard this line before. Woops, be careful, the ‘light touch’ might become ‘medium touch’ if the powers that behold frown on the laughter. Oh, don’t be cruel. Politics being so stressful as it is could do with a good dose of jokes and laughter every now and then. Its supposed to be good medicine :-)

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