Photo of Yang Kai Heng and Ai Takagi from Mediacorp

No blood spilled. Not a single cent lost. But 10 months jail?

At a young age of 23, Ai Takagi’s website achieved over 400,000 followers with web traffic exceeding the government-controlled Straits Times viewership and netting tens of thousand in advertisement revenue. Ai Takagi is no doubt a social media expert, with her articles touching all the right feelers resonating with the average Singaporeans who have grown disillusioned with the government-controlled media.

However, this is Singapore. It is no place for young genius entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. In an interview with Wall Street Journal in 2011, former Apple founder Steve Wozniak said,

“Where are the creative people? Where are the great artists? Where are the great musicians? Where are the great writers? …A company like Apple could not emerge in societies like Singapore where “bad behavior” is not tolerated and people are not taught to think for themselves.”

Steve Wozniak’s words still rings true today with the jailing of a talented writer like Ai Takagi. The Real Singapore website could have grown into a multi-million media company had the Singapore government not shut it down because the website refused to comply with local censorship laws.

The Singapore government pulled out the Sedition Act to add further punishments to Ai Takagi’s “crimes” which wouldn’t have warranted more than a verbal condemnation from official sources in a functioning democracy. Ai Takagi’s “crimes” isn’t even a fraction of Donald Trump’s off-putting racist tirades, but it certainly highlighted what little amount of freedom Singaporeans have. There were no victims, no blood shed and not a single financial losses resulted from her “crimes”.

In Singapore, some privileged individuals get away with only measly fines for drunken assaults. Many Singaporeans asked what in the world did the lady write that warranted a 10 months’ jail? Is the sentencing plucked from mid air or arbitrary? Is the sentencing deliberate so her newborn baby will be born in prison and so deviously designed that the baby shall be separated from her parents (Ai Takagi’s husband Yang Kai Heng is the other accused and will likely face more than a 10 months’ sentence as he did not plead guilty)?

The only answer that be: The Real Singapore has simply embarrassed the Singapore government and this is why she deserved 10 months. This is political persecution.