Standing for “Out-of-Bounds,” the term OB originated from golf, where the bounds designated the area of play. Essentially, when a ball is hit out of bounds, it’s no longer in play. Unofficially adopted by Singaporeans officials, the term has been used to describe “no-go” zones (or topics) in public discussion, media and other forms of expression in Singapore. Officials have admitted that the markers will move depending on the perceived acceptance or tolerance of the public.
The OB Index has been I-S Magazine’s way of subjectively charting the ups and downs of openness, tolerance and freedom of expression in Singapore since 2003. Each week we scour the news to see if anything has happened that will affect the Index. Generally, happenings that promote freedom of expression, personal rights, tolerance and progressive policies make the Index go up. Likewise, happenings that trend in the opposite direction make the Index go down. The editors determine a subjective numerical value (e.g. +100 or -100) based on the significance of the event.