This is definitely the quotation of the week (maybe, it might even be the quotation of the year):
Jarret Huang (Secondary 3 student from Raffles Institution): “The sense of persecution is not a reactive measure in my situation but rather it is a pre-emptive measure taken such that certain things which are deemed incorrect cannot be said in certain situations.”
The red-herring that is often thrown at us if we directly question a minister about the curtailment of the freedom of expression is that we have false perceptions of persecution/restricions/etc. The restrictions that exist are purely in the interest of public order and safety and also national security. The restrictions do not prevent legitimate criticism.
Jarret Huang’s response to Dr Vivian Balakrishnan’s question about whether he feels persecuted hits the mark perfectly.
There is a political climate that has been carefully constructed and repeatedly reinforced that ensures that we practice self-censorship most of the time. It is not persecution but the fear of possible persecution that drives the self-imposed silence that many of us are guilty of.
Once in a while, a little boy would stand up and tell the Emperor that he is not wearing any clothes. 🙂