Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rony Tan and the State - 4 - "A national narrative of harmony and stability"

I've been thinking about this in terms of the government preference for a national narrative of harmony and stability, rather than diversity and non-violence. I think it was Cat in the Cream who pointed out during our conversation that to the ISD, what they were doing was indeed clamping down and enforcing harmony/stability to arrest any possible slide down the slope to non-violence. And either Badly Drawn Pig or The Terrierist who noted that many old-guard politicians remember the days when dissent was followed by violence, and the new generation that'll take over has been schooled in and become comfortable in this framework of justifications for policing public discourse.

When the system is set up to enforce surface harmony rather than allow people and groups who disagree to express themselves up to the point of violence or incitement thereof, then people like Rony Tan's followers muttering about their preacher being a persecuted martyr, and people like Oh My Goat wondering whether she'll suffer any backlash from criticizing a religious practice, even one that might originate from a faith should she belong to. Or do people just buy into the prevention-is-better-than-cure approach?

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