What you need to know
If found guilty, the 36-year-old man faces a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. His case also appears to have energized anti-LGBT elements in the country.
A 36-year-old man on Thursday was charged with communicating an incitement to violence via the Internet in a Facebook post in which he threatened to “open fire” and “protect his nation” against the LGBT community in Singapore.
Describing himself as “NSman” and “a father,” Bryan Lim wrote his comments in response to an online piece about the foreign funding (now threatened by new state regulations) of Pink Dot, the annual LGBT event in Singapore.
“I am a Singaporean citizen … And I swore to protect my nation,” he wrote on June 4. “Give me the permission to open fire. I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes.”
Soon after his post, several netizens filed a complaint with the authorities, which launched an investigation. Facing charges of incitement, which could land him in jail for up to five years or fined — or both — Lim, who has apologized, now maintains that his comments were “taken out of context.”
“I did not mean physical bullets nor physical death,” he wrote. “I mean open fire in debate and remove them from Singapore domestic matters.”
Unfortunately for Lim, the context was about to change. Eight days later 49 people would be killed, and 53 others injured, in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. All of a sudden, “I would like to see these £@€$^*s die for their causes” would take on a rather, shall we say, sinister meaning. Whether Lim indeed intended to open fire on LGBT supporters to “defend” his nation (against what, the enlargement of personal freedoms?) is only known to him. But there is no doubt that his comments constitute incitement and that they contribute to an environment of oppression against a visible minority in a country that, as some would argue, is already disturbingly permissive of discrimination and hate speech against members of the LGBT community. And before I am accused of nonlinear narration (after all, Lim’s comments were posted before the Orlando shooting), I would point out that there is a long, sad history globally of repression and yes, physical violence, against members of the LGBTQI community.
Lim, who has been released on a US$10,000 bail, is set to appear in court on Aug. 4, Channel News Asia reports.
In a recent post, a friend of Lim’s observed that, “Bryan…is not the kind of guy who wishes violence on strangers for such petty reasons. Hes [sic] a man of strong morals and character.”
Ah yes, “strong morals” and “character,” something that could be said of many of the individuals and organizations that over the years have discriminated against and worked to deny the rights of the LGBT community in Singapore and elsewhere — even here in Taiwan.
The young man’s travails also seem to have mobilized Singapore’s anti-LGBT movement.
“What nonsense…these people from pinkdot are the real intolerant ones,” one netizen wrote on Facebook, using the typical perpetrator-as-victim strategy to deflect attention from intolerant groups. “Now an innocent man being quoted out of context is charged because of falsified information and plenty of noises [sic] out there.”
Using the same logic, another netizen replied rather hyperbolically, “Lets [sic] hope all of Singapore can see the intolerance and fascism inherent in LGBT extremism.” What makes LGBT supporters fascistic and extreme is, of course, left unsaid.
“It’s official. The war has started,” another user wrote.
First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: Edward White