I am currently was watching this debate on Channel U about whether criminals will be given a second chance easily after they are released from jail – this also highlights the fact if Singapore is indeed a forgiving society. Some of the people that were brought into the picture includes Christopher Lee, who was recently sentenced to a jail term of 4-6 weeks for drink driving, failure to render help to victims in an accident and removal of vehicle from site of accident. Of course, the other person in focus is Durai, who unfortunately is down with dengue at this point in time.

Some interesting comments where made during the show. One said that, while Singaporeans are not very forgiving, we are just very forgetful. So, a typical Singapore will probably not forgive a person of his crimes, but because he is forgetful, it will long be gone from his mind. Of course, in the case of Durai, not only will he be forgotten eventually, but also the person who made the peanuts comment. 😛

Another panelist mentioned that some crimes can be forgiven while others cannot. So, in his view, Christopher Lee is worth forgiving while Durai is not, because Durai is aware that he’s doing wrong. The other group of people that he thinks can’t be forgiven are drug abusers.

I have no comments, but I feel that Singapore is not a forgiving society. Singaporeans will always be prejudiced and bear grudges. I remembered that there was this doctor who was reprimanded but was allowed back into the medical services. Almost instantly, an ex-cop wrote to the Straits Times Forums to comment and condemn that the doctor not be allowed back into the medical services. Singapore a forgiving society? Far from it!

Unfortunately, this blaming, unforgiving and judgmental culture has also spread to the primary schools, where teachers can also be quite judgmental. The example that was given was that if something was lost, the first group of people that the teachers will approach would be the EM3 students because the “EM1 students will not do such a thing”.

Another topic that was brought up was the ease of getting employment should ex-convict declare his status during a job interview. I highly doubt so and I am just being frank. It’s a matter of choice. If you are an employer and you have to choose between 2 equally qualified candidates, won’t it be obvious that you will choose the one without a conviction history? (just to side track a little, a doctor once told me that given 2 postgrad medical applicants, they will choose the younger one; which is why I am not applying to Duke-NUS).

Of course my arguments here are weak (and I’d like to support my views) because it’s 330am and my brain isn’t as active as it is in the day. If you feel that Singapore is a forgiving society, I’d like to hear about it.

Also, food for thought: Can jail change a man? No. Only a man’s inner thoughts can change him.

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