Don't ban cheat site, bring it on, say some

SINGAPORE - While the Government's move to block extramarital dating website Ashley Madison has been cheered by many, it may have opened up a Pandora's box.

Ever since My Paper first reported on Oct 23 that Ashley Madison was planning a presence in Singapore, there has been a backlash against the Canada-based website. But some now see the ban as pointless and say it gives the website even more publicity.

The Media Development Authority said that it has worked with Internet service providers to block access to the site, which was reportedly launching here this month.

A 32-year-old married woman, who is self-employed in the retail sector and wants to be known only as Mrs Lua, said: "I don't support the website, but the ban means nothing because people who want to cheat will still cheat."

Experts noted that the ban may go against a "mature" society where citizens are trusted to make their own decisions.

Sociologist Paulin Straughan said: "Most Singaporeans expect the Government to be a moral compass but we don't want a strong hand of the state. It is important not to let this episode cause a permanent dent in our progress."

Another sociologist, Dr Tan Ern Ser, added that the ban had "a symbolic value - standing up for what we believe regarding the sanctity of marriage".

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