Shanmugam Must Stop Turning Others’ Pain Into Teaching Moments!

A netter points out the callous nature of Shanmugam’s post that made use of the Thai Nursery Massacre to remind Singaporeans of our drug laws.

Thailand is reeling from an unspeakable tragedy. At least 38 people are dead – many of them, little children. There is really no need for K Shanmugam Sc to turn another country’s pain into a teachable moment for Singaporeans. It feels a little callous, a bit tone deaf. The minister, after all, is a man with an international profile. People pay attention to what he says. He does himself – and Singapore – no favours with posts like this one.

Panya Kamrab, the alleged murderer, is a former police officer who was dismissed for a drug offence.

He is said to a yaba (meth) addict, and was apparently under immense stress in the days leading up to the attack. His motivations are as yet unclear, and investigations are still underway. But Shanmugam appears to have already decided that Panya did what he did because he was an addict – never mind the fact that police say an autopsy found no trace of drugs in the man’s system on the day of the killings (see ST article).

Shanmugam’s post is also confusing because he seems to think that all drugs are the same.

He even comes across as somewhat gleeful that the massacre happened so soon after Thailand legalised cannabis. But these are separate issues – the two events aren’t connected; weed is not yaba.

One thing that’s not in doubt though is that the law minister doesn’t like a certain group of activists, whom he refers to as “narco liberals and apologists for drug traffickers”. He even throws in a rather bizarre gotcha – pointing out that no activist has held a candle light vigil for any of the dead children (presumably because vigils have in the past, been organised for inmates facing execution).

In the end, Shanmugam’s message seems to be that the tragedy in Thailand demonstrates that he is right, that the Singapore’s government’s tough stance on drugs is right, and that anti-death penalty activists are wrong.

It’s not the first time the law minister has stated his position.

In fact, he appears to be on a media blitz of late – speaking to journalists, podcasters and various other people about the death penalty, and why it makes sense to send drug mules to the gallows. Singaporeans hear him loud and clear and we will decide if we agree. It’s good we’re discussing these things, but Shanmugam should exercise some restraint. Little children are dead. A nation is in mourning. The tragedy should not be used as an opportunity for any politician to make any point – especially when so much remains unclear.

Source: Lynn Lee’s Facebook