It has been interesting to read the many pieces on the net about the arrest of the Sticker Lady, both for and against her and what she did. People should be free to debate issues which affect them, and persuade others, through logic and reasonable arguments, to support their cause. That is a sign of a healthy society.
But is not clear what the particular movement - to excuse the Sticker Lady from punishment - is saying.
There is no doubt that what was done was criminal – an act of vandalism or nuisance. Is the object then to repeal the law altogether? That would make it legal for anyone to draw on or otherwise decorate public property? I don’t think that is what the vast majority wants.
Is what was done acceptable because it was creative or considered “art”? That gives rise to real difficulties as one man’s art is another’s poison. So what do we expect the police to do? Should they be art critics as well, and decide what is acceptable? I don’t think many would favour that. Or perhaps that should be for the judge? Would that not mean that the same work may be considered criminal by one judge and not by another? I rather more certainty, and less arbitrariness, in our criminal laws. The judge can always take into account the context, reasons behind and extent of the “art” in mitigation and sentencing. And sentencing does not have to mean jail.
Others have offered solutions, such as setting aside public space for those who want to exhibit their works. That sounds fair, although it would not have worked for the Sticker Lady’s “art”, which requires a context an exhibition area would not have. “My Grandfather Space” does not quite have the same ring. Still, we have to grapple with what constitutes acceptable art. I stumbled upon a statement in my Parliamentary colleague, Yee Jenn Jong’s blog. He said: “My suggestion is for the spaces that we set aside, set some simple rules like no profanity, no attack on race / religion, and then let whoever is in the approval committee decide with a liberal view when proposals come in.” "Proposals", “Approval Committee”? So, we need more committees to decide and approve such matters? Interesting.