Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ed. ~ Firstly, we have to apologise for the inconsistency of the posting here at empty-vessels. We at EV would like to assure readers that we are looking to motivate Packrat to post more often through the use of electric tazers and other motivators. We now return to our regular scheduled programming.

So here I am, forced to write an update to my blog and since I’ve been on a (n unofficial) hiatus), I’ve had a ton of things to blog about. It’s all fodder from reading The Straits Times (which I’ve been told is a health risk, especially for me) and specifically letters from stupid people. (Read: Singaporeans)

I am ready to quit. (Not professionally but as a citizen of our “great nation”), I have had it up to here. *Motions at neck* We’ve tried education. We’ve tried reason. We’re in the information age for goodness sakes. We’re a well traveled nation and we have the power to learn more about other cultures with the snap of the fingers (or the wallet). We have the ability today to see through the lies fed to us and break through from ignorance into enlightenment.

And yet we don’t.

We still have people who think like this:

“As a resident of Singapore I am really pleased that the Singapore Government has banned street demonstrations and the entry of known trouble-makers during the IMF/World Bank meetings.

It's nonsense to say or imply (as some IMF/World Bank officials seem to do) that noisy, violent and property-damaging demonstrations are all part of the democratic process, that they are part and parcel of the freedom of speech. They are not.

We can all do very well without such demonstrations and the folk who promote them. Will the world be a worse place in the absence of such demonstrations this week? Will the world's poor and suffering peoples be any worse off? Undoubtedly not.”

And this:

“Before the IMF actually chose Singapore as a meeting venue, it already knew that Singapore is well-known for its tough stand on protests, troublemakers and all things bad.

Singaporeans are law-abiding, peace-loving people. We have great leaders who have gone to great lengths to keep Singapore a safe and harmonious place to live in, not just for Singaporeans but also for our foreign friends.

Our leaders are caring and responsible towards the safety of our IMF visitors and Singaporeans cannot understand how Juan Jose Daboub's desire to have protests in Singapore would do better.

Singapore would not be what it is now and the IMF will be afraid to pick Singapore as its meeting venue if our leaders had allowed protests, demonstrations and chaos in our country.

If these are allowed, I will be the first to stand in line to protest against Juan Jose Daboub for wanting to usher in trouble.

Let's be realistic. Protests are just for show only. Can the IMF really please everyone? What is important is our leaders are sincere in our fight against terrorism to make this world a better place to live in.

We want four million smiles, not tears so please don't change that.”

Are we really this naïve? That we automatically believe that protests really always end in violence? I’ve been to protests. And I know that they don’t automatically lead to the kind of violence that people imagine protests to degenerate into. It’s funny that Singaporeans tend to think in these terms. Perhaps it’s because we’ve been fed some really inaccurate information. I’ve been to 3 protests. All non-violent (although the first one involved students storming into the administration block and holding it for 72 hours), all peaceful with no trouble and a whole lot of hot air. So what is the big deal behind protests that make them dangerous? Could the banning of protests in Singapore truly be just about keeping our precious visitors safe? Or perhaps some authority doesn’t want Singaporeans to realize that the danger in protest is not necessarily physical but ideological instead?

The naivety that protests are dangerous because of violence ensuing may just be a justification for us not to have said activities in any of our democratic processes. After all, without any voice of opposition or protest, no one need ever know that there is truly unhappiness here in Sunny Singapore. The papers will continue to cover everything up and paint a perfect picture for those who still swallow its lies hook, line and sinker. And those people are legion here in Singapore.

More importantly, though, without protest, there is no voice to speak for those who wish to take part in the democratic process but are unable to because they are unrepresented. There is no way to make them listen because that which the government hears (even if they are “caring and responsible”) is censored by toadies who just don’t want to admit that they screwed up. The lies and propaganda work both ways. The government tells the people what they want to hear. Middle management tells the government what they want to hear.

Case in point: Project work in schools.

Wait for the day when protests are allowed and 20’000 students march on the Ministry of Education demanding for the abolishment of that which is not named in JCs without a curse and a spit. Nothing changes? Wait for the day when every student refuses to hand in their PW projects in a silent protest of the uselessness of it all.

Protests aren’t democratic. Pui! Protests are a way for the citizen voices, drowned out by the drums of bureaucracy, to make themselves heard. And if they yell hard enough, there can be changes made. Even if it’s for no other reason than just to shut people up.

So, here I am. I am lodging my protest against stupid Singaporeans and their stupid narrow minds.

Signed: Packrat.


Blogger rook said...

quick & dirty point form :)
- the ST doesn't publish all the letters it receives, just those that it wants to.
- most ppl who disagree with the opinions stated are either (a) not doing anything (typical SG response); or (b) too busy rolling their eyes (or perhaps blogging about it).

Wed Sep 20, 04:12:00 pm 2006  

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