Leah Salonga on Singapore, strict law enforcement, drug war and national development

leah salonga singapore rp drugs

It was this kind of strictness that I yearned for here in the Philippines all those years ago.


For some strange reason I started thinking of an incident back in the 1990s that took place in Singapore.

An American teenage boy by the name of Michael Fay was found guilty of vandalizing cars and stealing government property, and was sentenced to 6 lashes of a cane. President Bill Clinton pleaded for clemency, hence the sentence was lessened to just 4, after which the young Mr. Fay was deported back to the United States.

I remember the protests of the west against the cruelty of this kind of corporal punishment (although there were some folks that were totally in favor of it). Afternoon television programs featured it. People Magazine wrote an article on the young Mr. Fay. The photograph used made him look vulnerable, more like a child than someone on the verge of manhood.

However, in Singapore, after the sentence was pronounced, many people interviewed for the news were proud of their country, that they were this strict in meeting out punishment for crimes against the state and its people. Plus, cars are extremely expensive, costing at least twice the amount it normally would in the US. So of course the anger over them getting keyed is high as well.

Moral of the story: obey the rules of the country you live in or visit. Render no destruction to property, public or private. All visitors are subject to the same laws as its residents.

It was this kind of strictness that I yearned for here in the Philippines all those years ago. And now my mind is thinking of the word “perhaps.”

Perhaps if government was more strict back then…

Perhaps if the war on drugs began much earlier…

Perhaps if everyone was less apathetic and more sympathetic and empathetic towards one another…

Perhaps… Perhaps… Perhaps…

So now here we are.

This is on all of us. We’re all in this together. It’s pointless to stand on one side and place all the blame on someone that isn’t us. WE all did this. All of us. So it’s going to take all of us to fix it.

– Leah Salonga

#Duterte #WarOnDrugs

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