After a yearlong review, Singapore officials announced in Parliament on Monday that mandatory death sentences in a dozen categories of serious offenses will be retained because they have broad public support and have proved effective in deterring crime.
This ruling shouldn’t surprise anyone with a grain of knowledge of Singapore’s strict judicial system. A majority of Singaporeans feel that execution is an entirely just and fair punishment for certain crimes and has been for thousands of years.Via Meadia is not offering an opinion on capital punishment itself, but this episode does offer an interesting glimpse into the melding of traditional East Asian culture within a modernized, first-world society. The world isn’t just witnessing an economic power shift away from Europe and towards Asia; it is witnessing a moral, political and intellectual one as well.One impact of the rise of Asia and the decline of Europe may be a new lease on life for the death penalty. Most Asian countries have it; the EU bans it. There is no sign at this point that increased economic development brings end of death penalty, as Japan still executes criminals.By any means, Singapore is one of the richest and most advanced nations on Earth. However, it is very much an Asian society in that has not followed the Western, liberal model of development. Instead, it achieved developed within the boundaries of its own values and societal norms.Watching what happens to the fate of the death penalty and to the global discussion about it will be a one way to see whether Asia is moving toward Western values as it gets richer, or if it is moving toward something different from the traditional European model of a developed society.