Peter Lloyd – new charges and dog whistling

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) correspondent, Peter Lloyd, is now facing three additional and, as yet, unspecified charges following a brief court appearance in Singapore today [Friday 25 July]

Peter was arrested last week and charged with trafficking about a gram of methamphetamine (ice). According to media reports he looks worried, gaunt and like a “broken man”.

And who wouldn’t. Facing 20 years in a Singapore jail and up to 15 lashes with a heavy rattan cane, would make even the staunchest crack addict blanche.

What troubles me more though, is the way this case is being used to attack the ABC and dog whistle Australian racism.

The latest news on Lloyd’s arrest and court appearances this week is available from The Sydney Morning Herald and the Herald-Sun.

ABC reporter faces more charges

Accused reporter Peter Lloyd steps out in public

Peter has been receiving consular assistance since his arrest and at least two high-powered ABC executives have been by his side over the past week. The fact that the ABC is supporting one of their star reporters is causing something of a backlash among some sections of the Australian public.

When conservative columnist Tim Blair commented that the ABC had a right to defend Lloyd and rush assistance to him in Singapore, it provoked a huge online response.

ABC has right to defend jailed journalist

However, before you all rush to congratulate Tim Blair for his forthright defence of a fellow hack, consider the real point of his piece:

As for taxpayers assisting Lloyd, this is the inevitable result of having a public broadcasting service in the first place.

I would privatise the whole ABC in an instant if I had the chance, but while it’s here it is obliged to behave like any other major Australian corporation – in this case, by supplying legal assistance to an employee facing serious charges overseas.

Reporters from all the major newspapers and commercial television networks could reasonably expect similar help.

The difference is that the ABC is publicly funded, so we’re stuck with whatever legal bills it runs up in Lloyd’s defence. Unfair, but unavoidable.

Besides which, it’s good to see the ABC demonstrating a commitment to Western values for once.

They’re using some corporate muscle. They’re seeking every available advantage. Good for them. I hope Peter Lloyd beats his charges and walks free.

Spot the problem?

Well actually there are two problems from my perspective.

The first is Blair’s suggestion that the ABC should be privatised. This is a common refrain from the ugly right’s lead dribblejaws (Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and so on) It’s particularly prominent in the ranting of Rupert Murdoch’s minions at News Corporation. The mantra in that mahogany row is “Never let a chance go by” when it comes to bashing Australia’s public broadcaster.

In the context quoted above the call for privatisation doesn’t make sense. How would that stop the ABC acting like any other corporate. It’s not an issue in this situation and appears a gratuitous aside.

The second is the dog-whistle chant about Western values. Somehow us “whities” have to defend ourselves and our institutions from the sub-optimal (subtext sub-human) values of the Singaporeans (subtext “Asians”).

This is racism, pure and simple, and folks like Tim Blair can’t help themselves. Its a cultural overhang from his position on terrorism and conflict in the Middle East. The semiotic implication of Blair’s comments about the uncivilised process of whacking someone with a wet cane as thick as your index finger, are a simulacrum of his stance on the “war on terror”.

I don’t suppport caning drug dealers, or anyone else. I take the same view or corporal punishment as I do about stoning adulterers. Both are sick outcrops of a sick culture.

In Blair’s view though, it would appear that caning a criminal is as barbaric as a roadside bomb.Both constitute an attack on “our” liberties and must be stoutly resisted.

This is a step too far. There is no moral equivalence. Only in the addled brain of a pundit high on the smell of his own hubris would leap to such a conclusion.

Such is the role of the cultural warrior. Blair and his fellow travellers like to think they are the frontline of all things decent and somehow (in the post-colonial context of Singapore) “British”.

No doubt Mr Blair will enjoy a Singapore Sling in the long bar at Raffles the next time he’s in town. But as for wandering the streets to see how real Singaporeans live, or noticing the layer of indentured labour that underpins the lifestyles of Singapore’s corrupt ruling elite, Mr Blair can probably not be bothered. It’s one thing to have the coolies of Raffles’ famous bars bring you a sugary, but potent quencher; it’s another entirely to be out among them on the crowded streets of the metropolis.

That is why, in my first post on this topic I linked the fate of Peter Lloyd to the case of the Singaporean blogger, Gopalan Nair.

The point is that for both men, whatever their supposed crimes, the harsh reality of “justice” in Singapore is very real, and in the case of Peter, potentially very traumatic and painful.

It’s not, as Blair argues, about defending Western values. It’s about human rights, something Tim Blair wouldn’t bother with.

16 Responses to Peter Lloyd – new charges and dog whistling

  1. Max says:

    Western values ARE about defending human rights. How did you get that so wrong?

  2. bush boy says:

    You’re a nutter, picking a fight with someone who basically agrees with you over something that is not stated. Bad hangover?

  3. MarkL says:

    Just had an interesting discussion including webcam with my friend Yeap in Nee Soon. We read both Blair’s comment, and yours, and discussed both.

    Yeap was infuriated, he thinks that YOU are a racist so-and-so. His wife was much more strident.

    Their main points:
    – you are a racist for assuming the inferiority of the Singaporean justice system
    – you are a racist for your outrage that Singapore dares to arrest ‘a white man’ for transgressing Singaporean law
    – you are a racist for assuming the SIngaporean ‘elite’ is corrupt
    – you are a racist for assuming that their solution to endemic labour problems (a visiting worker scheme) is ‘indentured labour’, is slavery
    – you are a racist for calling Singaporeans ‘coolies’
    – you are a racist for thinking that a different culture, that of Singapore, is a ‘sick’ one

    As Yeap said ‘we are a yellow dot in a brown sea, without any resources except our human capital. That’s why we hang drug dealers, because of how badly they damaged Singaporean human capital during the heroin epidemic of the 60s and 70s. We have no other resources except our people’s brains. Both Kampung Baru and Medan show what happens to Chinese when the Malay runs amok, so yes, we trade some of the personal and political liberties you enjoy for security in the face of that threat, and the right to get as wealthy as we possibly can from our own efforts – that’s the best deal going and one deeply embedded in Singaporean culture. How dare this racist bastard say we are inferior because of our own choices!’

    Personally, I agree with him in his opinion about you. You are projecting.

    MarkL
    canberra

  4. A very confused post. Have you ever studies the origins of the concept of human rights? (Hint: they’re certainly not oriental constructs. )

    “Blair and his fellow travellers like to think they are the frontline of all things decent”

    This actually applies to you, with your championing of ‘human rights’ but condemnation of ‘western values’, as a way of differentiating yourself from other Westerners.

    It is also you who is arguing that the values of others are “sub-optimal (subtext sub-human)”, even if you are saying the same thing.

  5. Ian Matthews says:

    Spot the problem?

    Well actually there are two problems from my perspective.

    Jesus! Yeh mate, 2 problems here – too many martinis and not enough ethics.

  6. Action says:

    What is wrong with you? You are reading too much between the lines. I am Asian. I support Western values, which is about human values. That is why I migrated to Australia from Asia – to enjoy the Western values (human rights) Doh!

  7. Bemused says:

    What the hell? You label other people as racist, yet happily bandy around a word like “coolie”? Hypocrite.

  8. More leftist confusion over exactly what is right and wrong. Why don’t lefties ever have a developed ethical yardstick? More importantly, why do they feel they have the right to judge others using a series of feel-good fluff and populist sentiment as their ethical basis?

  9. Wow, you guys sure know how to organise a comment rush don’t ya. Pity, though, that
    1) you seem to lack any sense of irony at all
    2) if you do, then you deliberately misread the post in order to make your pointyhead points.

    I’ll quickly respond to these issues:

    – you are a racist for assuming the inferiority of the Singaporean justice system

    I didn’t say it was inferior, but I do think it’s corrupt. That’s why I make the link between Lloyd and Nair. I have said nothing about Peter’s guilt or innocence.

    – you are a racist for your outrage that Singapore dares to arrest ‘a white man’ for transgressing Singaporean law

    That’s not what outrages me. I’m more outraged about the treatment of Gopalan Nair, A Singaporean blogger who’s rights have been trampled under corrupt defamation laws.

    – you are a racist for assuming the SIngaporean ‘elite’ is corrupt

    Singpaore is a one-party state. The ruling elite owns the government and most of the capital – Singapore Airlines, all the media etc. The Lee family and assorted cronies cling on to power through a system of repression that is both overt and covert.

    – you are a racist for assuming that their solution to endemic labour problems (a visiting worker scheme) is ‘indentured labour’, is slavery

    “Visiting worker scheme”? What a lovely euphemism. There have been enough cases of rich Singaporeans beating their Filipino “maids” to death to make me think it’s slavery. It’s very close. I’ve seen the building sites where indentured labour has to live in barracks, earning crap wages while banging up more shitty hi-rise while the profits go into the pockets of a a wealthy minority. I’ve seen the open flat-bed trucks full of workers from the sub-continet hurtling through the streets late at night after its passengers have done close to a 14 hour shift.

    – you are a racist for calling Singaporeans ‘coolies’

    Irony – you didn’t read the sentence, or context:


    No doubt Mr Blair will enjoy a Singapore Sling in the long bar at Raffles the next time he’s in town. But as for wandering the streets to see how real Singaporeans live, or noticing the layer of indentured labour that underpins the lifestyles of Singapore’s corrupt ruling elite, Mr Blair can probably not be bothered. It’s one thing to have the coolies of Raffles’ famous bars bring you a sugary, but potent quencher; it’s another entirely to be out among them on the crowded streets of the metropolis.

    – you are a racist for thinking that a different culture, that of Singapore, is a ’sick’ one

    I didn’t say Singapore is “sick”, I talked about the cultures that condone capital punishment and corporal punishment. There are many Western nations – whose values my detractors (to a man) believe are universal human values – that also support capital punishment. The United States is one. That is a sick culture too.

    I don’t know who organised this witch hunt in response to my post, but thanks. You’ve certainly boosted my traffic stats for this week, now Fuck-Off
    [Irony alert] re-read the post and apologise for calling me racist.

  10. […] [Tim Blair: ABC has right to defend jailed journalist] [EM’s response: Peter Lloyd – new charges and dog whistling] […]

  11. Bemused says:

    If I was feeling charitable, I might grant you that your use of the racial slur “coolie” was an ironic device. However, your interpretation of Blair’s piece – and your subsequent labelling of him as a racist – is supremely uncharitable, so I don’t see why you shouldn’t receive the same treatment that you’re happy to dole out to Blair.

    Racist jackass.

  12. Justice Singapore-style. Don’t take my word for it. Here’s an excerpt from a column in today’s [Monday] New Zealand Herald by Tapu Misa.

    Would it be gratuitous to say that Mr Low hails from Singapore, where, “tough on crime” tends to mean, according to Amnesty International, trials that “fall short of international human rights standards due to mandatory death sentences and presumptions of guilt”, 37 suspected Islamic militants being held without charge or trial, the death penalty for drug-related offences and kidnapping, and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly? Mr Low isn’t the only one calling for the introduction of Singapore-style justice; another ex-Singaporean thinks we need an Alcatraz.

    You can read the context for yourselves: Blaming race won’t solve crime

    The point – lost on the dribblejaws, who can only see as far as the end of their own bellies – is that universal human rights are not Western values any more than they’re “Asian”, Hindu, Bhuddist, Zen or Taoist. They are universal because they are applicable everywhere, without cultural caveats.

    It’s not therefore, about contrasting “Western” values – code for European – with Singapore. It’s the consistent application of human rights in every situation. Something that many Western nations also fall down on, all the time.

  13. daddy dave says:

    The comment about privatising the ABC was an aside. It was a “by the way” mentioned in passing, and not part of the main thrust of the article. You’ve taken that comment about privatisation way too far. You seem to think it contradicts Blair’s support of the ABC’s actions, but it doesn’t.

  14. Really daddy? The next few pars don’t make sense anyway after this “aside”. Go back and re-read it. What’s Blair trying to say? That a privatised ABC would act like any other corporate and defend it’s staff? But it already is, so what’s the reason for mentioning privatisation?
    Only because it’s part of the obligatory mantra from Blair and his News Corp cronies. It doesn’t make any sense otherwise.

  15. “You’ve certainly boosted my traffic stats for this week, now Fuck-Off”

    Thats certainly not a very ethical comment.

    The product of too many Martinis? Of the product of your frustration concerning sick cultures, including Singapore’s, without being a racist by suggesting that Western values are any different>?

  16. […] Peter Lloyd new charges and dog whistling […]

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