Beating Bottoms


Venitha sparked my memory with her latest post and the link to the Michael Fey caning fiasco several years ago. I felt I had to comment. I was in the US at the time reading all the news reports about his sentence. Like most Americans I knew nothing about Singapore or its legal system. Our news reports made it sound very inhuman and uncivilized. Even our government had to get involved ofcourse, feeling as they do that the US has the right to try to interfere in other countries policies.

Now that I have been in Singapore for a couple of years and watched how this government and its judicial system work, I am 100% in favor of caning as part of the sentence for certain criminal behaviors. It is just one of the reasons for the low crime rate here, and seems certainly to be a deterrent.

As I have said in previous posts, the crime in the US is absolutely out of control. In the cities, murders, rapes, assaults, armed robberies etc. are so common place that the people become immune to it. Even the young people carry guns or other weapons to commit crimes and for protection. Gangs are common and no one, not even adults, feels safe on the streets at night.

Why? Because the legal system is so perverse that many criminals get off due to technicalities, or get probation only because there is no room in the already overcrowded prisons. Those who are sentenced to time, even life in prison, will often get out after only a few years due to “good behavior.” The gun lobby is so powerful that no meaningful gun control legislation can get passed. It is a nightmare but, once again, the people are so used to it that the society has evolved around it. People lock themselves in at night, many have bars on the windows and doors, sophisticated alarm sytems, big dogs, and ofcourse more guns. People turn their homes into personal jails while the criminals control the streets. I don’t see this ever changing in the US except to get worse.

The jury system has become just another avenue for criminals to escape prosecution. Having 12 people, who know nothing about the law, who normally cannot be informed about the past crimes of the accused, who are utterly dependent on the theatrics of attorneys…having them decide the fate of criminals is just so much bullshit as far as I am concerned.

I like a system where a knowledgable judge, who will not be swayed by manipulating lawyers, decides a case and passes sentence. I like a system where those sentences are carried out quickly and the criminal does not become a financial burden to the community unnecessarily. I like a system where the sentences are severe enough that criminals think twice before commiting crime.

Kudos to the Singapore gov’t for not backing off when the US tried to put pressure on it over the Fey affair.

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4 Comments on “Beating Bottoms”

  1. Mickell Says:

    Would you go so far as to say PAP is the one the best governments in the world? Have you ever owned a gun in America?

  2. expatbrian Says:

    I don’t know much about many governments in the world, but I think the PAP has done a tremendous job in Singapore. That is evidenced by the strong economy, the quick growth, the supurb infastructure, and the obvious caution with which the government approaches social liberalization. I think many nations could do worse than following Singapores map to 1st world status.
    Yes, I bought a handgun just after I got out of the army because I felt naked without a weapon. It was later stolen from my home during a burglary and I never replaced it. Hopefully, I will never feel the need to own one again.

  3. Venitha Says:

    I’m definitely with you that caning seems to be an excellent punishment and deterrent for certain behaviors.

    And now I’m wondering. Do Singaporeans spank their children? Spanking has certainly gone out of vogue in the US as children are taught in school about child abuse and are (understandably – we’re talking about children here) unable to distinguish it from parental discipline. Less forgiveable, of course, is the US courts not being able to distinguish the two.

  4. expatbrian Says:

    Caning is not uncommon here for children although probably less with the current generation. The canes are much different, however, from those used for criminal punishments. Any market area you go to will have canes for sale. They are short, bamboo switches with a plastic loop at one end. Very similar to our parents old hickory switch. I am not into beating kids and don’t allow it here.


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