Saturday, November 24, 2007

The rap, the smoke, the island and the PSLE

These are the following issues that I have strong intentions to write to the Straits Times forum. But since they have been rejecting every letter I have sent them after October 17, I guess Straits Times has put a stop to Ho Chi Sam's letters. Perhaps it is true the quota of 3 print publications is not really a myth, but then again, is there a quota for the online forum?

1. The MDA rap is creative. You cannot take that away from them. But if you think doing rap and using a certain sub-culture to reach out to youths are a good idea, think again. If you want to reach out to youths, just talk to them not talk down to them. Not every youth likes hip-hop and rap any way.

2. Congratulations that smoking is down. But the health promotion board shouldn't be patting the backs of campaigners. Ads and campaigns, being the "pull" factors, should not be considered the top reasons why smoking is down among youths. Cigarettes are costlier and harder to obtain these days thanks to law enforcement on sellers. Access, or the lack of, is a strong "push" factor. Let us not just pick one correlate and assume it's the mother of all determiners/causality.

3. Pedra Branca reveals something about Singapore that its neighbours find not exactly appealing. The little "brother" in the ASEAN family may be one of the most advanced, but following by the book, cold and clinical, doesn't endear you to your neighbourhoods. It is not wrong. What Singapore does is NEVER wrong. We stand for the "truth", we keep to our word most of the time. Maybe being "not wrong" all the time can be a wrong in other people's eyes. International relations are choppy waters. As for Singapore wanting to be loved, yet wanting to do things like we don't owe any one a living, there should be some negotiation between the two. Let's hope the issue is resolved and both countries are still the friends they'd like to think they are.

4. The Singapore Dream starts with the PSLE, but it doesn't end there. Examination certificates are just passports to take to the next destination, but that destination is not the final destination. Some take limousines, while others take the non-airconditioned bus. What matters is that the vehicle continues moving and takes you to the desired destination. Even if you do not get to your destination, that very destination may just be another journey to another destination and so on.

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