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8: Auntie…erm, Miss… September 14, 2010

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Whoa! Finally, a readworthy article on the State’s Times! I would like to commend the State’s Times on raising people’s awareness on General Idiocy in Singapore. Really, it’s very important…considering that there are enough idiots in the world, it makes sense to train the spotlight on one once in a while, isn’t it?

I would really like to start bashing, but first, let me rebutt each argument point by point:

  • “Proper terms of address for people” has been oversimplified. The proper way to address a particular person depends on context in the broadest sense of the word. Many factors count towards properly addressing someone, e.g., if you are in a familiar context, you wouldn’t address a friend (unless ironically) as “Mr./Mrs./Ms. X”. If you are in an unfamiliar context, there again differences. You would address someone as “Mr./Mrs./Ms. X” if you are in a working, white-collar context and you want to remain professional, i.e., you are either distancing yourself socially from your conversation partner, or you are addressing someone of a different social ranking. Using “Uncle” and “Auntie” has the effect of creating immediate rapport, since the very words uncle and auntie imply a certain close relationship between both conversation partners, while remaining respectful by constantly placing the addressed person in a socially higher rank.
  • Building on that, I can easily refute the 2nd paragraph. There, it is said that: “Very often, at places like wet markets, hawker centres and heartland shops, one can hear the shop or stall owners addressing men and women who appear to be in their 40s as “uncle” and “auntie”. It is ridiculous to see even middle-aged and elderly people address these men and women that way.” Given that the context always determines what the proper way of addressing someone is, I do not see what is ridiculous in this at all. Although it may seem semantically strange, it is actually a very meaningful way of addressing someone. A shopkeeper wants people to buy their wares. So, naturally, the simplest way to approach a customer with respect would be to address him using a term which would naturally place the customer on a higher social ranking. And having rapport also helps you to convince your customer, no?
  • Which brings me to the third paragraph. How it is neither respectful nor right is not clear to me. Maybe i’m dense, but didn’t i just argue that “Uncle” and “Auntie” are a) terms of respectful address and b) very appropriate given the contexts in which they are used?
  • And so I come to your suggestion. Replacing “Uncle” and “Auntie” with “Mr./Miss/Mrs.” etc will destroy your very argument, since you so wilfully neglected to see the context in which such linguistic phenomena are situated. Let’s say you go to Best Denki and a salesperson addressed you with “Sir”/”Madam”. Well and good. Now, let’s say you go to your local mama shop and demand to be addressed as “Sir/Madam.” You’ll either be laughed out of, or kicked out of the shop. The terms “Sir/Madam” and “Mr./Miss/Mrs.” are respectful, but in no way are they markers of attempting to strike up rapport with your conversation partner. In fact, in a Singaporean context (outside the office), such terms serve to distance speaker from recipient, and shows a general ignorance/refusal to accept the conversational context one finds oneself in. At the very least, it is incorrect usage, if you have a bad day, it’s downright disrespectful. (And yes, as special lexical items, they have their places in Singapore Standard English! No person, no matter how polished their English may be, will go to a coffeeshop and order “A coffee sweetened with condensed milk and two hardboiled eggs, if you will, Sir.”)

Your letter, therefore, should have landed directly in the Editor’s shredder. The very fact that he deigned to publish it means that he probably thought it was Nation-Building to Educate the People About Idiocy. Did you pause to ask yourself why these words are used as terms for addressing someone in Singapore? No. Did you probe deeper into the phenomenon? Nope. Do you have a skewed view of reality? Maybe. Did someone address you as “Auntie”, and you happen to be around 40 years of age? I don’t know. Are you an overzealous English teacher? You should have known better – or didn’t you learn this at University? Do you see things in black-and-white? Definitely. Are you, by some freak of nature, from the Victorian Era and don’t know how you got to this sweltering tropical island? Hmm.

Well, Victorian or not, you certainly get my facepalm. Eat this, Auntie…Miss!


7: Logical Thinking? January 20, 2010

Posted by The Truth in Im Allgemeinen, What Were They Thinking?!.

According to PAP logic, we’re casting foreigners as villians. And we shouldn’t do that, says our Law Minister.

But isn’t law something which goes by logic? Then why is it that he is giving us such illogical statements? Many netizens (like Lucky Tan etc.) don’t see the logic…so let’s see what is not logical in what the States Times and what our Minister said…

So, first, the report:

MIDWAY through a 11/2-hour dialogue with Law Minister K. Shanmugam on Sunday, 58-year-old Wee Kai Fatt stood up and gave voice to the claims of many coffee shop pundits here.

The senior engineer complained about the foreigner-fuelled population boom, saying he was shocked when he heard there were five million people living in Singapore.

This influx of foreigners, he added, had caused HDB home prices to rocket.

Taking it all in, Mr Shanmugam took pains to clarify what he said were several misconceptions in Mr Wee’s statement.

The Law Minister’s key message: Do not cast foreigners as the villains driving up the prices of HDB flats.

Speaking at the end of his three-hour visit to Yew Tee constituency in Hong Kah GRC, he said: ‘The first misconception is that somehow there are five million people and that is putting pressure on all of us. It doesn’t.’

Firstly, i would like to ask what pains Mr Shanmugam took to clarify these “misconceptions.” Is it trying to use his Man in White logic to convince someone with ordinary logic? For example, Man in White logic often tells us that we SHOULD accept what is happening, i.e. welcome foreigners with open arms, be cheaper, better, faster, etc. Or maybe that the influx of foreigners has absolutely no role in pushing home prices up, when this obviously flies in the face of basic supply-and-demand. More demand, less supply, means that prices increase. (Of course, I’m not an economist, but that’s not what this is about now. This is about what the layperson thinks, not about what the economist says.)

Logic doesn’t operate on “should”, it operates on “is”.

Then why are HDB prices rising? MIW logic would probably say that it is a sign that our economy is picking up again and use it to tell us that we have MORE GOOD YEARS ahead of us. But that is not the case, well, not in reality at least (see, for example, this). Which is why i sometimes suspect that the Men in White live in another dimension, since sometimes their interpretation of happenings is so different from ours. Again, interpretation is also something which is not strictly logical. If it was strictly logical, the interpretation of how things are would convince anyone. But no one is convinced.

There’s also the argument from an unfounded premiss, e.g.: “The first misconception is that somehow there are five million people and that is putting pressure on all of us. It doesn’t.” How does Mr. Shanmugam know that it is a misconception? Does have have contrary proof? Can he explain his position? Or is he just relying on his status as Law Minister (“as a minister, i know what’s going on and you don’t?”) Relying on superior status to make what you say more valid is another sign of bad logic, or of an illogical argument trying to be logical. Authority tends to make people argue illogically.

The second unfounded argument is based on using statistics to make a statement appear empricially sound:

Of the five million, 3.2 million are citizens and roughly 500,000 are permanent residents (PRs). The remaining 1.3 million are here on temporary work permits and they ‘impose no burden’ on the public housing system.

What does it mean that “the remaining 1.3 million are here on temporary work permits and they ‘impose no burden’ on the public housing system”? It is probably a weak attempt at explaining away the problem. Just feed them some numbers and they’ll bite, hook, line and sinker. Are you sure, for example, that all of these 1.3 million people are staying in workers’ accomodations? Or maybe they are all Malaysians? Statistics which don’t exactly explain why they are solutions to the problem shouldn’t exactly be used.

Lastly, there is argument based on an assumption:

‘Let me pose a question back to you – ‘What do you think is the solution if we can’t get Singaporeans who all speak English? Then we have to get foreigners. Where do you think we can get them from, and can we educate all of them in English?’ Therefore, if you are given a choice, either there is someone there to serve you, which is Singapore’s style, or like in many Western countries, you do self-service. I suspect…most Singaporeans will say ‘OK, never mind, even if he can’t speak English, I will prefer that to a self-service situation’.

Is the assumption true? I would prefer self-service, actually. I don’t see the point in ballooning our population by 1.3 million people, so that they will have to come and serve us.  Actually, it’s also a veiled threat – “want less people? Then get ready to serve yourselves.” Another false assumption – are we so scared of serving ourselves? Don’t we do that at McDonald’s?

What was he thinking?

6: To The Devotees of “Asian Values” October 15, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Many of my readers (if there are any left) will want to have a reason for my disappearance.  Well, I have been observing.  Ris Low boomz’ed, lifts should be upgraded, the EZ-Link cards had to be changed.  But then i came across something on Young PAP, an article called “To The Devotees of Western Democracy and Human Rights.” Since I believe that idiocy has to be dealt with using a large hammer, so here goes…

The author has tried to justify the “superiority” of Asian values vis-à-vis Western values.  Well, in every culture, the dominant values are always seen as superior over other values – it is one of the things which contribute to identity.  But one has to ask the question if it is right, or even if it does make sense to use such a blanket-term like “Asian Values”. What are “Asian Values,” anyway?  The author seems to be deliberately trying to remain vague on what they are.  Does he assume that we all know what they are?  One quarter of our population are now expats and PRs leh.

In fact, the term “Asian values” as they are in Singapore remains so vague, because it is implicitly expected that we know what they entail.  But do we?  The ruling class can have another set of “Asian Values” – e.g., maybe the Men in White ARE the Sons of God, or maybe a particular Man in White, the scholar system (i.e., elitist thinking), the larger focus on belief in authority, society before self, etc.  But for the ruled, “Asian Values” may mean virtue, being ruled fairly, and that a ruler should care for his subjects, family, etc.  BUT these are never said clearly.  “Asian Values” must remain vague, because as a blanket-term, you can apply it anywhere and everywhere, and you can separate yourself from the horrible West.  So yah, first, what are “Asian Values?”

And these were also the nations [European powers] that, at the height of their imperialism, imposed, by sheer brute force, the ‘right’ of extra-territoriality upon the countries they had subjected. And now, they are crusading for Freedom and Human Rights in their former colonies as well as the other countries of Asia.

Now the author accuses the West of cultural imperialism.  Of course the West can afford to be cultural imperialists (especially Uncle Sam, well under Bush anyway), since they have the might and the money.  But in ‘crusading’ (jeez! what a word! this isn’t the Middle Ages, you prick, and if you had any sense of political language, you would have avoided it.  The very concept of Jihad by Muslim fundamentalists go back to the Crusades, you fool!) for “Asian Values” overseas – what, Singapore is trying to strike back?  With what force?

In fact, Western values are so important for Singapore that you can’t do without them.  If we don’t want Western values, then we should chase foreigners out, especially the educated Westerners in our universities, and we should, of course, send our scholars not to Europe anymore!  I mean, they ARE going to rule, you know??  So what is being said is that for our author, he is grossly short-sighted: this smacks of a way to stay in power, by using a vague term to make one system sound better than the other.  Without any agreed definitions, this is just RHETORICS.

The Anglophile may be despised, but maybe our author should be too, since he is doing nothing much more than building castles in the air, i.e. calling others to take up arms against the Western cultural crusade (seriously, were you with the Taliban?) based on a term which is so general that it is empty, and using the rhetoric of certain senior citizens who deem fit to travel the world and impose their own brand of imperialism under the motto of “leave us alone, you have no idea what it is like to rule an Asian country,” yadda, yadda.  Yes, what were you thinking?

5: Wake Up Your Idea lah… July 19, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Wah last week ah Singapore damn happening.  First got two siao char bohs (actually ah i think both already obasan liao) kpkb those pengkiaz.  First one say on States Times Forum why SAF must scold vulgaration.

Na bei lah.  This also cannot, that also cannot.  Go jungle pang sai after that also use cheebye leaf to wipe ur ka chng clean clean, can?  No vulgaration how to express that you dulan?  Although must say that if this obasan 1 say that everything also cheebye, then the play must be quite cheebye standard.  Also got lan cheow ok?!  Then also can say fuck what.  Fuck so useful.  I read somewhere that fuck can be simi noun la, simi adjective la, all the lan cheow sai also can.  Universal, like sometimes our occifer say load universal round and bang bang bang.

Speak so good England for fuck?  Your ginnaz ah, obasan, confirm go army hor kao kan (means kena fuck by dogs, ok?) already.  Liddat also culture shock.  Don’t shout at trainees then how?  Everything nice nice, want to sit down and drink tea and eat cake anot?  Eat my chocolate cake lah.  Every morning fresh produce one.  My tea also very zeng one.  Fresh, warm, also got ammonia flavour.  Song right?  Want your ginnaz to be gentlemen, send them go OCS lor. Although also will cheebye and lan cheow a lot, but after that your ginna confirm will be gentleman.  First class one.  If want to ban lan cheow and cheebye, then a lot of encik jobless liao.  I think better you don’t send your kids to NS…excuse vulgaration for 2 years.  Everything must gentlemen then army can work ah.  Balls to you lah.

Then sgforums also got this other obasan kaopeh say tekong kiaz very smelly, can transmit disease.  I think only disease must be psychosis lah…when all the lan cheow shit flow to your brain cos you stand too long liao.  Simi disease?!  Ok lah, i admit tekong kiaz are smelly.  RECRUIT mah.  Lowest life form must wear until nice nice book out so your ginnaz won’t get nightmare ah.  So jialat then move your hubby and your ginnaz to west side lor.  There no tekong one.  Or can also tell them next time don’t read Incredible Hulk lor.  If not got aircon school bus send pengkiaz home…wah i also want man if last time go Tekong got…

Book out also must shower and smell nice nice…also, balls to you lah.

Then lastly SMRT start to fine people for any lan cheow thing…eat candy also qia you $30.  Drink water also can tio.  Cheebye lah.  SMRT machiam cleanliness Taliban like that.  Everything must clean clean.  Drink water also tio.  WATER leh friend.  I tell you ah if i go SMRT drink my pokka 绿茶 or my water and tio…i also won’t go and pay the fine.  In fact i will raise so much hell and say loudly what kind of cheebye rule is this SMRT, drink water also buay sai.  Lim peh is responsible one.  Drink liao will clean up all the sai i leave behind one.

This SMRT, want to use law instead of educating the people.  Educate properly liao they also won’t eat and leave their shit behind mah.  Like got one guy got sore throat so must drink water, then tio.  For what fuck?  Then you know most Singaporeans when they got authority are all fuckers.  Like some Men in White la, SMRT train officers la, etc etc, like last time my encik used to say, “i is a fuckers.” All fuckers, they just want to catch someone breaking a rule so they can fuck them inside out.  So even if you going to ki chia already right, you will also get fucked.

Clean trains but people kia because always got fuckers walking around trying to catch you…like that train clean, but i also dont feel clean, i feel like criminal-to-be you know?  I think must get some of those tang ki go and cleanse the train,  every night hahahaha.  Then TODAY got one or two of those ah siao say want to drink and eat go and get a car.  Fuck your lan cheow thinking lah.  If my money plant really every 3 months give me $10000 in cash i will also go and buy a car lor.  Cocksters produce cock solutions.  Balls to them too.

Really, what were you thinking?!

4: Rooting Singaporeans July 2, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Not long ago, SM Goh talked about keeping bright young Singaporeans in Singapore by sinking their roots:

MORE than one in five of the top students from the 1996-1999 A level graduating cohorts are not working in Singapore today. And of those from the same batches who went on to universities overseas without a scholarship bond, more than one in three are today carving out careers outside the country.

Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong gave these statistics on Saturday to illustrate the urgency of getting young Singaporeans to sink roots here even as they become more entrepreneurial and break out into the global economy.

‘If more and more of our bright students do not return, this begs the question whether our success in giving them wings to fly far and high will result in our eventual decline as a nation, especially as we are not even reproducing ourselves.

‘No nation will be able to sustain its growth and prosperity without sufficient talent, much less a small country like Singapore without natural resources,’ said Mr Goh.

He was speaking to more than 1,000 guests at the 70th anniversary dinner of Chung Cheng High School last night. He urged schools to help students retain their emotional bonds to Singapore, ‘so that they think of Singapore as the home which nurtured them, and want to contribute in some ways to the country of their birth’.

To do this, he suggested that schools inculcate in the young certain values, such as being appreciative of those who help them advance in life; and not taking for granted the academic, sports and arts programmes they can enjoy here and abroad, when many children elsewhere cannot.

Mr Goh hoped that the end result of such teaching would be students who have strong links with their schools, close ties with their friends and a strong sense of responsibility to their families – even if they choose to live, work and even settle down overseas.

Switching to Mandarin, Mr Goh said: ‘I hope Chung Cheng and our schools will give two lasting bequests to our children. One is strong wings; the other, deep roots.

‘Like wild geese that migrate each fall, young Singaporeans should be equipped with the courage, strength and adaptability to venture to distant lands in search of opportunities. But when spring returns, they will come back, as this is their home.’

Indeed, Mr Goh further argued in English, helping young Singaporeans stay rooted here was the most important challenge facing the Education Ministry. This is because the number of young Singaporeans working overseas will grow, given that the education system is producing more and more students equipped with the right skills to go global. – Goh Chin Lian, Straits Times, 28 June 2009 (Thanks to takchek)

What were you thinking, SM Goh?  Already there are contradictions in your speech.  You said this:

If more and more of our bright students do not return, this begs the question whether our success in giving them wings to fly far and high will result in our eventual decline as a nation, especially as we are not even reproducing ourselves.

Then, you “urged schools to help students retain their emotional bonds to Singapore, ‘so that they think of Singapore as the home which nurtured them, and want to contribute in some ways to the country of their birth’.” Do you not see that it is precisely this nurturing which Singapore has given them which has sent them packing?  Meritocracy – those who have the talent are those who will rise up, and it is this very dog-eat-dog world which your Gahmen has created which is causing this very problem.  And what you said above smacks of wanting to make sure the money you invested in your people actually pays out.

Singaporeans are PEOPLE, not MONEY MACHINES.  If you want a money machine, you could buy a colour laser printer.  All the foreign talent you have imported to stem the brain drain has had the unfortunate consequence of more people leaving, since locals are losing jobs due to their lowered hiring potential (think NS commitments, etc.) And what’s more, since you refuse to give citizens certain (okay, all benefits is bollocks) benefits which set them apart from the foreigners, is it any wonder why citizens don’t see Singapore as home, and try to fly away (especially those who are able to?)

But don’t worry, SM.  There are a lot more people who are deeply rooted to Singapore precisely because of the ties you mentioned – family, friends etc.  But ironically, they don’t seem really important to you or to Singapore’s progress.  Perhaps they are the drones who are expected to work hard, and that’s it.  Singapore can never attract brains as long as independent, creative thinking is not encouraged generally, as long as there is ONE Big Truth one has to shovel down one’s own throat and alternatives are either tolerated but ignored, or simply eradicated.

To think you can keep alternate thinking in the confines of monoperspectival view of the world – really, what were you thinking?

3: Intellectual Snobbery July 1, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Today, i was wandering through the Internet when i came across this thing on the Intellectual Snob and guides on how to deal with elitism.  Wah…Singaporeans are really intolerant of snobbery huh?  Especially when it comes from a self-perceived ‘elitist.’ These ‘frogs,’ to use the Intellectual Snob’s vocabulary, think they are the very best in the world (whereby ‘world’ here is a very narrow term, i agree) and they react to anything which attempts to burst their bubble by trying to burst the attacker’s bubble.  Reaction, counter-reaction.

But if they actually thought about it…such thoughts of them being the best in Singaporean society, like studying Science/Law/Medicine/Business in one of the Big Three unis in Singapore (come to think of it, there ARE practically only these three if you don’t count SIM and other private unis)…granted, having a B.A. or a B.Sc. is an achievement.  But don’t these people practice the same intellectual snobbery on others?

Let’s see. “Arts is a dumping ground.” “You study philosophy?  Erm…” “In this book it says that (insert complex-sounding theory here)…” and so on, and so forth.  Alternatives are looked down on because they don’t fit into the small Weltanschauung of many Singaporeans.  Being alternative is wrong too – you should just fit in, fit in, fit in.  So yes, the Snob is right when she says that most are incapable, if not unwilling, to think differently or to see things from another angle.  Everything must be black and white, and books are like Bibles.

We let ourselves get dumbed down, only to believe we are on top of the world, a world which is roughly 646 square kilometers large.  That the Intellectual Snob has drawn so much criticism is evidence enough – why do most people refuse to see beyond words and try to find a deeper meaning?  Why is everything she says WRONG, whereas we are ALWAYS RIGHT??  Is it because it is unknown territory where they don’t dare to step, or which they don’t know how to navigate?  Even if, as Sam from Thinking Better, Thinking Meta says, we are not stupid because we are just pragmatic, this pragmatism will probably work very well in Singapore (although we see ourselves getting screwed by it) and overseas, where Your Ideas Are Not Important, have most people Thought Meta?

They think their brand of pragmatism is THE solution for all your problems.  After all life is temporary so it is more about living a material life with its satisfactions.  Thus, intellectualism is looked down on, because if you are an intellectual, you must either be 1) very rich or 2) very foolish.  Most people think like that, and well…what were they thinking?!

And oh yeah.  Even if the Snob has been exposed to be some NTU student who is disillusioned, the points raised still remain to be considered.  Being a Snob or just a fraud may lower your rep, but it doesn’t mean that what you say shouldn’t be taken seriously.  That’s reserved for the clinically insane.  But well, in the language of the Snob, you could very well remain ‘frogs’ and ignore the words of those who don’t have a reputation or a bad reputation.  Some Men in White do so anyway.

2: Lionel de Souza June 16, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.

Ahh, Lionel de Souza.  A celebrity online (albeit for the wrong reasons,) ST Forum star (since his hate mail gets posted all the time,) full-time vigilante.  He has been demonising the Blogosphere, believing that most which is said there is unfounded and thus untrue, representing the Men in White against the dark, dark realm of the Blogosphere, gloating when the Kingdom of Lee achieves something (or publishes something in the State’s Times, no less! to that effect,) and regularly raiding Internet.

Yet, in his attempts to portray the Blogosphere as Hell, he has only written to the MSM.  De Souza is a consistent character – he is staunchly pro-government, believing all that the Gahmen says, which makes him a scathing dimwit, or at the very least, a very naive character in the eyes of those online.  You could also call him a Gahmen Taliban (Ed: too harsh!) fundamentalist, one who believes wholeheartedly in the nation.  It kind of shows when he writes glowing letters in praise of our Gahmen which goes way beyond heartfelt appreciation and borders on the edge of zeal.  You can also see his gloating at those who criticised the Gahmen in the aftermath of Mas’ Great Escape after Mas got somehow arrested.

Even though our ISD only played a major role in the State’s Times version.  And what’s more…didn’t the ISD make Mas Selamat’s Great Escape possible?  I have one thing to tell de Souza here: si tacuisses, philosophus mansisses. (“if you had shut up, you would have remained a philosopher.”)

But anyhow.  Lately, after our Christian fundamentalist friends were sent off to jail for distributing Chick tracts and TOC ran a commentary on it (see here,) de Souza saw fit to write to TODAY to accuse TOC of failing to exercise moderation.  His first allegation is most of the posts made are “nonsensical, crude and not worth reading.” Well, there ARE nonsense posts on TOC.  But i find the quality of comments there on average higher than those on the ST Forum, since most comments there end up degenerating into argumenta ad hominem. And instead of talking to the relevant authority, by which i mean TOC, he goes on to ask that the MDA investigate TOC due to comments which may sow “seeds which may inevitably promote religious disharmony..,” yadda, yadda.  By the way, which 8 comments ah?

Well.  If it affects you so badly, Mr. de Souza, you are welcome to air your views on TOC itself.  And since you deem most of the comments nonsensical, crude and not worth reading, why do you read them anyway?  Are you selectively trying to find something which can undermine the Blogosphere?  Indeed, who are you to reduce the Blogosphere and its inhabitants to a bunch of idiots? Why do you call upon a higher authority to investigate the TOC, instead of airing your views there?  Is it because there must be a chain of command?  Is it because online blogs are like a cancer, polluting the minds and thoughts of our beautiful, ideal, fantastic (in both senses of the word) world?  Also, he polarises the world of media and opinion into two worlds, the crude Blogosphere and the serious MSM (since that’s where he gets heard anyway.)

It all boils down to this question: is it that important that everything is separated into a clear-cut “right” and “wrong”, “good” and “evil,” “serious” and “nonsensical?” Lionel de Souza, without specific evidence, you claim that the Internet is a dangerous place.  And you also imply that most people are too stupid to differentiate wrong from right, are too stupid to understand grey zones.  Doing so, you are the one who has remained on a more simplistic, primitive world-view, and you are so audacious to want to bring others to your level?  If you did it with the best of intentions, in the zealous belief that this is good for Singapore and good for the people, then, indeed, Lionel, what were YOU thinking?

What was his thinking?!

What was he thinking?!

1: Ministry for Creativity and Ideas? May 28, 2009

Posted by The Truth in What Were They Thinking?!.
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Some of the things you find on the State’s Times never fail to amuse, like this particular guy’s perceived need for a “Ministry of Invension, Suggestion and Innovation.” For one, i find it really funny and a touch sad that people still think that Ministries Can Solve Everything.  But the very idea of a Ministry of Creativity is, well…an oxymoron.  ESPECIALLY if it’s a Ministry under a Full Minister.  I mean, what was he thinking?!

Having a ministry and a minister is all fine and good, but it also means that the ministry has a particular programme, and since Singapore is all about visible forms of “progress”, you can tell where all the areas where creativity and ideas are supposed to be located.  As in, certain ideas may be really creative, but i’m sorry, no cigar for you since your idea isn’t that practical/we won’t have anything to show off in 10 years.  If this is the case, then the definition of “creativity” must be necessarily a narrow one, defined by a certain set of parameters.

Is this not a contradiction, i.e. creativity is supposed to be free, and unrestrained, as long as it is within certain parameters?  So you are restraining the unrestrainable.  Bottom line is: a Ministry for Innovation is a BAD idea for the concept of creativity, and it will further polarise the useful/useless dichotomy in Singapore. After all, it looks like this ministry will be churning out invention after invention in the sciences and technology, but Singapore will essentially remain soulless, since everything is judged by how useful or how useless it promises to be.

So…instead of some ministry for creativity crap, i suggest that conformity be de-emphasised, and that people are encouraged to use their brains more in school. Only then can you hope to breed true creativity, not some artificial construct of creativity with OB markers.  But then again, you know that’s not going to happen.