SMRT vandal: Oliver Fricker gets jail and caning. Barbaric?
Oliver Fricker gets 5 months’ jail and three strokes of the cane for his prank on SMRT.
In my view, this is an extremely harsh punishment, and the caning is downright barbaric. Let’s see this in perspective. Even motorists who kill pedestrians in hit and run accidents get a lighter jail sentence sans the caning. Oliver didn’t kill or threaten anyone with his spray-painting prank. SMRT properties were damaged but the repair bill is loose change to a conglomerate like SMRT.
It was a major embarrassment not only for SMRT but also for the authorities. On the positive side, the episode has galvanised Singapore, the transport operators in particular, to beef up security.
Some may argue that the law is the law, and must be enforced. True, but let’s temper the law with mercy, and not enforce it ruthlessly in an attempt to extract every ounce of flesh.
Apart from a few countries like Malaysia and Indonesia, no other countries in the world cane criminals, not even terrorists. But here in Singapore even for vandalism and immigration offences caning is meted out.
Caning is demeaning and barbaric, often leaving permanent scars as caning is inflicted on bare buttocks.
Caning has no place in modern, civilised societies.
Singapore from time to time makes stirring declarations that it wants to be a kinder and more gracious society. Unless we abolish caning, this aspiration is merely lip service.
Did you know that the wildly popular TV show “Glee” pokes fun at our barbaric practice of caning? Putting Singapore on the map? I’m sure Singapore Tourism Board is not amused.
As a Singaporean, I feel deeply ashamed.
We seem to have something in common with the Taliban.
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