I do not know who Alan Shadrake was. I never knew he was an author. I never even knew he existed! I do now and so does the rest of the world. The reason is because the Singapore Attorney General has decided to charge the author for criticizing Singapore's use of the death penalty in his book "Once a Jolly Hangman: Singapore Justice in the Dock".
I am a supporter of the death penalty here in Singapore (there are just some people who deserved to die) and I am less than happy that we just made an international celebrity out of a no-name author who is now making a name for himself. I mean who the hell is Alan Shadrake?
I mean what’s the big deal about an ang moh criticizing the death penalty? His book barely made a beep on Singapore’s radar till the local launch of the book. That was when he was arrested by the Singapore police when he came to Singapore to promote the book. If not for his arrest, I would be here asking, “What book?”
Now Alan Shadrake is suddenly a well-known author whose name is on news services around the world. Needless to say, sympathy is with him as it was widely reported that the prosecution offered to drop the charges if he apologized to the court. Shadrake refused and was defiant in a media interview after he was charged in court. Not helping matters were reports that the prosecution will put up 20 pages of Shadrake book as evidence in the case. 20 pages out of a 219 page book!
If you read foreign news service, this is almost a case of David against Goliath. With Singapore being the big, bad Goliath!
All this could have being avoided is we just let the author go in and out of Singapore without incident. I mean he is not the first guy to complain about the death penalty and he will not be the last. So he criticized Singapore's use of the death penalty; who cares? Alan Shadrake was a nobody but now he is famous and his book will now sell like hotcakes due to the free promotion he is receiving. How does charging the man help Singapore?