Bookups & Human Rights in Singapore

On December 21, the first international bookup took place in Singapore. Although we felt strongly encouraged by people’s engagement & the participants’ level of discussion, several negative aspects have been brought to our attention:

  • Events such as bookups, which involve the debate or open discussion of ideas, are associated with Marxist activities and are strictly monitored by the State authorities;

  • Rules and regulations are in place to prohibit gatherings larger than five (!) people. In such cases, a special Police permit must be obtained well in advance, in exchange for a fee;

  • Unless pre-registered, the manager of the venue has the legal right to disperse the gathering, while the Police can fine all participants and the organiser.

While Bookups respects and welcomes the differences in cultures and political regimes, we were taken aback by such restrictions.

Bookups was founded on the strong belief that we can progress as individuals, society and as a species as long as we bring our minds together, willing to debate ideas in a genuine, constructive way. Ideas without people are just like books without readers — mere concepts suspended in hyperspace (at best…). That is why our mission is to connect people through books. Our values are further detailed in the article Let’s Talk Values.

Bookups is a firm believer in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as proclaimed by the United Nations in 1948, particularly the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly (debates, open discussions etc):

Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20 (1): Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

Bookups will do its best not to endanger any of the participants who would be willing to join a free debate around a certain book/article/idea in countries where similar restrictions are in place. However, we remain convinced that the freedom of expression and association have a direct effect on the freedom of thought, and even impair it. The human mind is our most valuable possession, and no entity should have the power or the permission to control it.

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TalkTheTalk is the result of a journey of discovery filled with excitement, sweat, life experiences & a passion for exploring human ideas together with others. We thank the AC running this simulation for allowing us to seek an answer to our question. However, it will not be our last--