Calvin Cheng has discovered why people commit crimes

Calvin Cheng was a Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) for just two years: 18 July 2009 – 19 April 2011.

However, he seems to have taken to the tag really well; his Facebook page URL is still http://www.facebook.com/calvinchengnmp, four years after having left the post.

The fashion and modelling mogul is outspoken, famously calling for the government to not regulate the Internet, as it was “pointless”. He argued that educating the young in critical thinking skills is more important as “clamp(ing) down on these troublemakers may be difficult”.

The same man is now claiming that people are breaking the law because they read “rogue Internet sites”, and get this: he asked the authorities to step up their efforts and deal with bad behaviour online.

Sounds like he’s contradicting himself.

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At the same time, he is in favour of dismissing these websites’ credibility and blame them for the rise of crimes with no facts to back up his opinions.

Maybe he was taking a dump when he thought of his post. After all, many an epiphany can be found in the bathroom.

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Too much time wasted on curbing Internet voices distract from real issues

The relation of “rouge Internet sites” to crimes is disturbingly similar to another argument — that violent video games and films cause violence in real life.

This hypothesis was already debunked in a long-term study, and here’s what psychologist Christopher Ferguson had to say about youth violence:

…The media narrative surrounding violent video games and youth violence may be due to the “limited amount of resources and attention” that society can devote to “the problem of reducing crime”.

He adds, however, that if the wrong problem is identified, it may “distract society from more pressing concerns such as poverty, education and vocational disparities and mental health.”

Let’s not devote too many resources into curbing voices on the Internet, like Calvin Cheng suggested.

Be against irresponsible journalism but not their views

While the man usually makes smart and well-thought statements (see here, here, and here), his manner of combating “rogue Internet sites” is baffling to say the least, considering his plea to the government to not regulate the Internet just four years earlier.

Websites like The Real Singapore (TRS) and The Online Citizen (TOC) have been guilty of stirring up anti-foreigner and anti-government sentiments and blowing them out of proportion in order to get a rise out of the public.

But claiming that these sites make people commit crimes may be a step too far.

According to that logic, mainstream media would be an accomplice to crimes too; they publicize sex crimes all the time. Maybe the government should go after The Straits Times and The New Paper and shut them down too.

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The public needs to be allowed to state their views, without toeing unacceptable lines, of course. If TRS or TOC are found to have directly caused a conflict in real life, they should be prevented from making any more news that crosses the line.

Despite this misstep, Calvin Cheng’s posts generate plenty of debate, and as long as the arguments are healthy and reasonable, he’s doing a service to Singaporean politics online.

We wish he’d fix his page URL though.

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With references from The Straits Times, Calvin Cheng