Anyway, Singabloodypore has two new & interesting posts about Shanmugam Murugesu - here and here. Remember Shanmugam, or Sam, as some people used to call him? Some time ago, the chap was convicted of drug trafficking and hanged. For miscellaneous reasons, Sam's case gained wide publicity and generated plenty of debate and soul-searching in Singapore about the pros and cons of capital punishment. Here's some background info.
What are the latest developments? Well, some local bands were planning to hold a concert to remember Sam by. To promote the event, the organisers came up with a nice little poster featuring Sam with a wide beaming smile. (Nice teeth. He could have been a poster boy for Colgate). Then the police promptly banned the poster.
More precisely, the police granted the organisers a licence to hold the concert but imposed the following as their Number One and Number Two licence conditions:
1. Prior and during the event, no imagery of Shanmugum S/O Murugesu or any other convicted individual, who had been executed or is facing execution, shall be used. This is inclusive of any publicity platform/material such as internet website, displays, banners, posters, T-shirts and any other paraphernalia.
2. The organizer shall ensure that participants of the event are also similarly restricted from using imagery of Shanmugum S/O Murugesu or any other convicted individual, who had been executed or is facing execution.
And why did the police impose such unusual conditions? The organisers did ask that question. According to Singabloodypore, the response from the police licensing officer was that Sam had received a free and fair trial and was convicted and executed as a consequence of this and that such figures should not be "glorified."
Mr Wang is taken aback by this explanation. All along, the organisers had made it known that this concert was about Sam (and capital punishment). The very name of the concert makes this clear: "Hung at Dawn - Local Bands Remember Sam". The organisers applied for their licence and the police thought that it was fine. They duly granted the licence for the concert to be held. Not only for one, but for two nights.
So the police officers think it's okay for a concert to be held in memory of Sam. Why then do the same police officers think that it's NOT okay for Sam's photos to be featured at the concert? It's like saying yes, you're allowed to hold a funeral but no, you can't display any photos of the dead. Some seriously birdbrained thinking is going on here.
With police officers like that, Mr Wang just cannot help but wonder what's going to happen next. Perhaps at the next election, the police will allow opposition parties to hold public rallies ... but will insist that the candidates must wear masks.