(unpublished - Oct 1, 2011)
I follow with concern the recent hoo-hah surrounding the Abercrombie and Fitch advertisement.
I am concerned about our private and public governance pertaining to censorship and selective interpretations of what constitutes moral, decent or vulgar.
Does this episode, along with many other similar issues we have witnessed, mean that individuals and communities that are more sensitive and easily offended exert a stronger influence over government policy and industry governance?
I also observe that when it comes to issues of allegedly contentious morality or objectionable content, many of us are quick to incite accusations against corruptive western influence. This is ironic considering the wave of puritanism that has empowered some of us as prudish self-righteous trigger-happy censors did in fact originate from the West.
I plead for a more moderate coexistence of views and ideologies, populated by diverse and well-adjusted Singaporean communities.
It is vulgar in its own right that some have taken it upon themselves to determine what is good for everyone else, thus threatening the plurality many of us fight so hard to upkeep.
Coexistence and open dialogue beats complaining and having a bunker mentality that our society is headed for damnation.
There should be spaces for creative advertising and art in Singapore, as well as education and awareness of the intangible value these bring to our society.
If we can teach the values of plurality and coexistence, we are capable of raising our children as information-literate and world-savvy citizens.
How well-adjusted we are is displayed through our reactions towards what we may believe to be provocative. There is a difference between making a swift moral judgement and appreciating how content invokes one's imagination.
So do Singaporeans who are not very well-adjusted have a bigger say in things around here? When they make suggestions or protestations, are they more equal than others?
Ho Chi Sam