16 November 2010

A Jolly Hangman

I was interested to read (here) that the British author Alan Shandrake has been jailed for six weeks for writing a book about the death penalty in Singapore.

The authorities in Singapore are concerned about the contents of this book. However, there seems no better way to guarantee it gets maximum publicity than to imprison its author. (This is sometimes known as the 'Streisand Effect', after attempts in 2003 by Barbara Streisand to restrict access to pictures of her house had exactly the opposite effect, by ensuring that lots and lots of people had a good look at the pictures that had upset her.)

Now, if I could get someone to ban my Edinburgh University Press book on Singapore English, that would do wonders for sales. I might even consider traveling especially to Singapore to promote it if I could guarantee to be arrested! Surely someone important somewhere must have been just a little bit annoyed by things I said?