What if the national library deliberately and overtly maintains a collection of subversive titles just so as to bait potential political dissidents into the open? Along with tracking of your book depository purchases? I mean after all, while political activism and mobilisation is clear evidence of subversive intention and action, reading is an indication of potential subversive tendencies. And avid readers are intellectuals, smart people, and the founding father says the smart people are the most dangerous (*gasp*!)
It’s the best means to crack down on subversion before it erupts into full-blown revolutionary anti-state dissent like talking about elections on cooling-off day, listening to local punk-rock, having long hair, voting for the opposition, joining an NGO, liking an anti-establishment Facebook page or even (*gasp*!) organising a demonstration at the Speakers’ Corner!
Perhaps one day we’ll eventually see people arrested and interrogated by the ISD due purely to conjectures of anti-state subversion based upon a single piece of evidence – your list of borrowed library books of the past decade. Don’t forget the eight hour interrogations in 15 degree celsius air-conditioned rooms, surrounded by burly interrogators and threats of indefinite detention. Oh and the signed confessions of participation in a Marxist conspiracy to overthrow the state in an armed insurrection, although you possess no arms, only borrowed books.
Absurd indeed. But anything, however ridiculous, is a plausibility when people’s lives are intruded upon, houses raided with a search warrant, their possessions confiscated simply because they posted comments on the elections on their personal social media accounts on cooling-off day.
And I used to believe faithfully that a touchy and errant police service has come a long way since 1987.