Law by Law

Why do law exist?

The first and most basic reason as to why law exists is to defend people from evil. Another importance of law is to bring evil people to account for their actions. Law also helps to resolve disputes over limited resources and encourages people to do the right thing.

In Singapore, we have many legislated policies crafted out of deemed necessity because Singaporeans have not learn how not to buay zi dong or be inconsiderate. We have laws in Singapore such that if we sleep, eat, drink or pee at the wrong places or time, we will get fined for the first offence and other nastiness for repeated offences. It probably sounds like an animal training school for outsiders. The Singapore way of governance is obsessed with restricting, such that the need for interpretation or judgement is completely eliminated. Over time, we developed a national phenomenon called, "Law by Law." In the "Law by Law" world, there are only two colours - the white and the black. What isn't right must be wrong. The mentality is a form of scientific management which removes the need of judgement and decision-making and simplifying work-flow. While the desired purpose of corruption reduction can be achieved with this framework, it leaves little room for compassion, humility and common sense since what isn't white can not be white.

Case study for you:

The LTA officer did what he was paid to do and did not abuse his authority in any way but why does it feel wrong somewhere? For those living in Australia, in your opinion, will an Australian traffic warden do the same thing in the same situation? If not, why? On a macro view, "Law by Law" is not just a practice but a culture which engulfs our way of living. Our policies are based on statistics, standards and guidelines. There isn't any poor in Singapore due to the lack of definition. You are either not sick enough or not poor enough but it is deemed right because it is not wrong. Gradually, the people lose their precious ability to think critically and just follow law, like a cog in a machine that doesn't stop that runs our uncaring, uncompassionate society.

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