Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Singapore cartoonist arrested

Someone was "invited" to "tea and 2 nights free accommodations" at Cantonment Complex.


[Extracted from Yahoo!Singapore news on Tuesday 23-Apr-2013. Note: Some words are enlarged, italicized and bolded etc by me for emphasis.]

S’pore cartoonist arrested for alleged sedition
By Andrew Loh | SingaporeScene – 5 hours ago

Singapore police arrested Mr Leslie Chew, 37, the person behind the cartoon strip, Demon-cratic Singapore, on Friday morning, for alleged sedition.

He was held in custody and questioned over the weekend, and was released at 8.45pm on Sunday after posting bail of S$10,000.

The police confiscated his handphone, computer and hard disk. He was also asked to surrender his passport to the police at the Cantonment Police complex.

The charges relate to two of the comic strips on his Demon-cratic Facebook page. Mr Chew has produced more than 600 cartoons thus far, including those on the page. The two in question are this one and this one.

The first cartoon, published on his Facebook page on 14 December last year, and titled “Demon-cratic Singapore Episode #438, Eliminating the thorn first...”, had also been the subject of a letter of demand from the Attorney General Chambers (AGC) last year.

The AGC, in a letter to Mr Chew on 17 December, said the cartoon “scandalises our Courts through allegations and imputations that are scurrilous and false."

However, it said it would not commence further legal proceedings against Chew if he posted an apology on the page, removed the cartoon and “all accompanying comments” related to the post, which has gathered over 600 likes, shares and comments since December.

Chew, however, decided not to comply because he said his work is fictional, and not related to any real events or persons, as stated on his Facebook page. On its page, which has 19,000 likes, Demon-cratic Singapore describes itself as a "100% fictional comic series about a country that does not exist".

In the second cartoon, Chew said the police questioned him about the population statistics in the cartoon, and its words – “Malay population… Deliberately suppressed by a racist government.”

Under Singapore's Sedition Act, among other things, it is an offence to bring into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against the Government; and to promote feelings of ill-will and hostility between different races or classes of the population of Singapore.

Anyone found guilty of the offence can be fined up to S$5,000 or jailed up to three years, or both.
Chew, however, denies any such intentions, again pointing to the disclaimer in each of his cartoons which says that the portrayals in them “are purely fictional”.

“I also explicitly stated that 
Demon-cratic Singapore 
is an entirely imaginary country and 
is not the Republic of Singapore,”
Mr Chew says, referring to this page.

The latest arrest follows a spate of legal action by members of the Government against online commentators and sites.

In January, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong demanded writer and activist, Alex Au removed his blog posts about Action Information Management, the PAP-owned company embroiled in the controversy over the PAP-run town councils’ computer system.

And on 18 April, the AGC demanded an apology and the removal of posts from several websites which it alleged cast doubt on the judiciary's integrity.

Chew, who says that the police was “very professional” in the way they treated him, has been asked to report to the police on 30 April.

“Most fans know that Demon-cratic Singapore is fictional and are just for laughs,” said Chew.

“Even when there are new readers who thought otherwise, they are usually quickly reminded by other readers that everything on my Facebook page is fictional."

Andrew helms publichouse.sg as Editor-in-Chief. His writings have been reproduced in other publications, including the Australian Housing Journal in 2010. He was nominated by Yahoo! Singapore as one of Singapore's most influential media persons in 2011.


[From the horse's mouth on Facebook Tuesday 23-Apr-2013]

Demon-cratic SingaporeHi everyone, the following comic more or less explained why there was no new comics on Demon-cratic Singapore for the past 4 days. It is a little larger than usual, so you might like to download it and zoom in to read.


Now you know why the "Talking Cock" website has such a long and lengthy disclaimer on its homepage. Consider also how the numerous invisible O-B markers (out-of-bound) curtail creativity in Singapore. And why so few in Singapore would risk being open about their political views.

As the saying goes, "Laughter is the best medicine." Keep laughing!

Aug-2006 Talking Cock in Parliament - Hossan Leong

Dec-2004 Check out "Count on him, Singapore!" below - Dick Lee


  1. And the government forever lamenting about the lack of artistic talent on the island. Sigh.

    1. Hi Anonymous on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 9:55:00 PM,

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

      Yet there is/are Singaporean folk(s) -- supposedly supporting arts/cultural development in Singapore -- who would support censorship rather than critic policies that hinder the development of arts/culture in Singapore. (See my friend mentioned in my other post here.)


      Cheers, WD.