Youth Olympic Games
I knew there had to be a mistake when the YOG website told me that the tickets to the tennis finals were sold out. Who's lame enough to go anyway?
Apparently, I am! And I'm dragging my poor-thing boyfriend along with me. Having never watched a competitive tennis match live, and having next-to-zero chance of doing so outside of leaving the country to do so (Malaysia is quite nearby, which qualifies my otherwise-zero chance; but it's still leaving the country), I thought this is a good opportunity for me to watch a competitive tennis match live. Of course, if I had my pick, I'd go to New York for the US Open final (which hopefully Roger's going to win); but my life sucks, my country sucks, did I mention my life sucks, and so I had no choice.
Speaking of my country sucks, I was unpleasantly surprised when I tried to pay for the tickets with my OCBC Titanium card and was told that I had to use a Visa. WTF? What the fuck? I'm pretty sure this is anti-competitive practice. The only online payment option was via a Visa. How ridiculous is that? I've never experienced that before in my few years' of experience of online shopping.
I also had the misfortune of seeing the feature on the YOG on ChannelNewsAsia in the lift this morning and couldn't help but roll my eyes at how awkward the YOG people were when they were all, "Welcome to Singapore! This is your bus!" and pointing their arms at the said bus, as if the incoming athletes wouldn't have the eyes to discern for themselves that that's a fucking bus. Prior to me buying my tennis tickets I couldn't possibly care any less about the YOG...in fact, I still kind of can't. I'm hoping some famous junior, the future Roger Federer, will be playing but I really don't know any of them, and I don't follow the juniors circuit. Duh, the pro circuit is a handful already, and who really cares about juniors? Not all that do well as juniors will go on to do well as professionals. Even Roger was in doubt when he didn't do anything impressive between winning the Wimbledon juniors title when he was 18 and winning his first Grand Slam in Wimbledon when he was 23.
Anyway, what was I saying? I can't remember but I'm sure it wasn't important. Moving on now.
Arrest of British author of book that has the audacity to criticise the Singapore judiciary and the oh-so-intelligent comments made by the government
Apparently, Kinokuniya carried a book by a British man that talks about the death penalty in Singapore. That book is apparently so utterly controversial and incendiary that it's led to the arrest of its author, who has been charged with contempt of court and is under investigation for criminal defamation.
I say "apparently" because, irony irony, I've never even heard of this book until the author was arrested. And now I'm trying all sorts of ways to get my hands on the book (stopped short at paying RM31 for shipping though).
This is so typical of this country. I can't quite advance a logically-layered argument at the moment because this topic riles me up to the extent of near-incoherence; but it's just so typical of this country. As someone who's endured 5 years of law and the legal profession and things related to the law (perhaps 5 years and counting), and who has some sense of right and wrong and some notion of what the law, in its purest form, is supposed to be about, and who admittedly subscribes to the leftist school of thought, all I can do is hope that this whole arrest-anyone-who-criticises-Singapore schtick - yes, that's exactly what it is - will hopefully one day play itself out. Because if this continues 50 years later, Singapore as a society will be worse off for it.
It makes you wonder: What are they so afraid of? If they're so convinced of their innocence, or at least their lack of wrongdoing, then what is so terrifying about letting these people say whatever they want (which, by the way, isn't even the case. I'm sure the IHT doesn't publish unsubstantiated articles)? Their argument is that "if we do not do so and allow vicious falsehoods to perversely masquerade itself as the truth, we will eventually lose our moral authority and with it, our effectiveness to achieve our mission to keep Singapore safe and secure." (source)
How are you strengthening your moral authority by bullying your adversaries with the court process into submission? Lawyers like to throw around the phrase "abuse of process" to oppress their opponents and sound erudite, but the real abuse lies in these stupid defamation suits and contempt charges. I mean, seriously. The overwhelmingly imbalanced statistics speak for themselves: the government has never lost a defamation suit. Is that just a coincidence? I'd be downright naive to think that there's justice in the world, but not even my cynicism is able to digest that fact.
Another problem with the statement that I quoted above is that it assumes that Singaporeans are not able to distinguish "vicious falsehoods" from "the truth". Unfortunately, I'm not in the mood to speak up for my fellow countrymen's collective intelligence, which I currently think is more or less close to zero, so I'll leave this thought to another day.
Also prolematic: moral authority translates to keeping Singapore safe and secure. In other words, not arresting the British author will lead to chaos in Singapore. Logic, right? I totally understand that. I really do. No, really, I don't. What the fuck are you on about?
And lastly, highly hilarious and ironic that the man waxing philosophical about moral authority is the same man that was in charge (AND STILL IS) when Mas Selamat escaped. If we're really interested in keeping Singapore safe and secure, maybe someone should've lost his job. Or if he'd any shame, maybe he should've left his post.
A peripheral but kind of related point
The cowardice of law firms is another reason I'd ultimately leave the profession.
I don't want to work in a government agency forever.
The only real option - either an international organisation, away from the trappings, the hubris, the self-importance, the pretensions, and the unwillingness to act of the private sector, and far, far away from the rigidity, the party line, the established order, of the public sector; or the law school.
I miss the secretaries that I was in contact with in the old firm. I miss the support staff in the old firm. The reason is quite simple: I don't remember ever getting pissed off at some shit attitude a secretary had towards me in the old firm.
Here, though, I've lost count of how many times I got unnecessarily irritated at the kind of attitude that gets thrown around in the office.
Now, I'm not one of those assholes that demand your respect just because I'm in a higher position than you; I'd sooner die than to ever be like that. No, what I'm talking about is basic courtesy. It's treating each other with respect because we are human beings and we work in the same office. It's being nice to each other, if only just so we wouldn't make a shitty day by default even worse.
But that isn't how people operate. They have to speak to you with a tone. They have to throw you nasty looks and not help you pick up the papers that you dropped onto the floor when they are right behind you and you are busy trying not to drop the other papers that are hanging precariously off the photocopier. They have to make you feel like you're wasting their time when you go to them with a simple request.
Consider yesterday: I was told to serve something on the AGC and my secretary was on MC. I went to the floor manager who went to an old auntie and gave her instructions. Being new and all, I didn't know who everyone was, and I thought I'd just go back to the person who took my stuff when I returned with another document that was to be served along with the documents that I left with Old Auntie. Old Auntie took my stuff to photocopy. I went back and saw her in the photocopy room, and told her, really nicely, "Please also serve this..."
She looked at me funny, and snapped, "That is not my job."
Wow. See, I didn't know that her job scope consists solely of photocopying. The fact that I even asked was quite obvious that I was pretty much clueless. After snapping at me that I was demanding a huge thing from her by asking her to serve something, she snapped further, "Ask [name] to do it."
I was really quite pissed off. Was there a particular reason she couldn't have told me nicely that she wasn't in charge of serving documents and that I should speak to someone else? The way she responded, you'd think I was the housefly on her char kway teow. My default position is to respect the elders, but when the elder is a bitch to me, that default position can pretty much go to hell.
Consider this, too: If you use the bypass stack, switch the fucking photocopier back to whatever mode you changed it from so that it doesn't screw up other people's printing. I had to spend extra minutes that I couldn't freaking bill for manually pressing the damn photocopier to get my shit to print just because the person that used it previously didn't switch it back.
Consider: If I see someone drop their stuff and they go "oh fuck", I'd help them pick up their stuff while they try to prevent more of their stuff from falling. This secretary was directly behind me and she stood there staring for a few seconds then walked away. If I was somehow supposed to read her mind and know that she wanted to use the photocopier, then I'm so sorry I failed in that department.
I'm very thankful for my wonderful secretary, who is admittedly a bit blur, but who is very obliging and nice. But I'm really quite surprised that there are more nasty support staff here than there are nice ones. It was the exact opposite situation in the old firm. Damn old firm for spoiling me.
Lastly, Prop 8
Some people complained that they're getting same-sex marriage shoved down their throats because the federal judge overturned a decision that went through the voting process.
I say: those people need to attend law school or something, or pick up a basic textbook on democracy and fundamental rights.
You don't vote a on a right. That doesn't even make any sense.
The court exists to temper the tyranny of the majority. When the majority makes a discriminatory decision - and no one can even try to argue that the ban on same-sex marriages is not discriminatory - with no rational connection to a legitimate state interest, it's the cue for the court to step in and do something. Democracy is lovely and all, but not when it leads to stupid decisions. And saying that the majority has spoken does not, and should not, legitimate a decision that is discriminatory for no rational reason.
Also, Yuch tweeted about whether anyone has argued against 377A based on constitutional grounds. I'm quite sad to say that my first response - only response, really - is that it's pointless because the courts don't have the courage to do the right thing. And I say this with all the respect in the world for our current Court of Appeal judges, especially VK. They gave me some hope when they allowed M Ravi's appeal for Yong Vui Kong, to hear arugments on the constitutionality of the death penalty; but that hope was extinguished with yet another tried and tested judgment that brings nothing new to the table defending the death penalty. I say it's a lack of courage because I cannot conceive of the possibility that genuinely smart and intellectual people would believe that. Yes, I am coloured by my own biases; but my biases are better than yours because my biases care about the dignity of a human life.
Ah, but that's just my bias speaking.
Time to shower. There's still work tomorrow sighhh. Definitely looking forward to the long weekend though.