Singapore, ‘Shared Values’ And Law: Non East Versus West Constitutional Hermeneutic

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Abstract

This article examines the apparent contradictions in Singaporean interpretation and application of its Westminster modeled Constitution in which the Constitution is treated as any other piece of legislation and Western style individual rights are easily overrun. It also examines the Government's particularist claim to Asian values as an explanation for its handling of the Constitution and seeks an alternative approach to understand the Constitution with reference to the Government publication, the Shared Values. The author suggests that this Document serves as a quasi-Constitution, and finds that interpreting two leading cases with this hermeneutic leads to a more satisfactory understanding of the court's decisions. The article concludes that the Government's approach toward the law to create the society it envisioned and published in the Document is a different and pragmatic issue, rather than a result of any fundamental East versus West cultural difference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-82
Number of pages23
JournalHong Kong Law Journal
Volume34
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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