Let's not turn human rights into a battle ground
This is the title of Lydia Lim's article in the ST today. In the international scene, human rights has taken the form of inter state rivalry, a new form of warfare launched by the Americans against emerging nations, especially China and the rest of the world. Domestically, it is another issue that bothers around civil liberty, freedom of expression and the right of choice, independent choice to do and live as unfettered human beans. I will just mention a few phrases or sentences from Lydia's article which she quoted from Walter Woon and replace the words 'human rights' to 'civil rights' and see how the meaning could change to something more relevant to the people. 'What we are against is the assumption of some people that when they define what human rights are, that decision is the decision for the rest of humanity.' - Walter Woon. Change this to 'What we are against is the assumption of some people that when they define what civil rights are, that decision is the decision for the rest of Singaporeans.' Then substitute these civil rights and decisions with issues like CPF savings, CPF Life, etc, do we see that there are some similarities in the imposition of what some people think are good onto everyone, like it or not? Walter Woon also stated his fear of human rights fanatics and said, 'these are people who evidently believe that they and their values represent the apex of human moral development'. Do we have fanatics who think that their values or assumptions are the apex of human moral developments in our midst? Do we have people who think that it is good for you and decide to structure your life, your lifestyle and also how to use or spend your money? The only paragraphs that I share with Lydia are these, 'Like Ms Singam, I firmly believe that Singapore needs human rights champions, but I would like to point out that we need them not just in civil society but within the ranks of officialdom as well. I agree with her that the social realities we are confronted with show that respect for human rights is crucial to the right conduct of relations within societies and between states.' Absolutely. Between the ruler and the ruled, some must be champions of human rights. It reminds me of the days of the colonial masters in Africa and India, when the rulers would dictate the rights of the ruled people. The human rights champions in a democracy are different from the human rights champions of feudal societies.