Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Lack of Logic

My sleep patterns are as usual, quite screwed up and hear I am on a Sunday morning, bashing out a blog entry after reading a other people's blog entries. One of the more interesting blogs in cyberspace is the Young PAP Blog (, a forum where two up and coming members of society have decided to express their views. As well as being members of "good" society (Namely professional people), they're also members of the ruling People's Action Party or PAP. The voices in these blogs, if you believe conventional wisdom, are supposed to represent the future.

To be be fair to Mr Nicholas Lazarus and Ms Elaina Olivia Chong, they have taken on a task which is not exactly enviable. When you post things on cyberspace, you leave yourself open to attack from all sorts of people. For some reason, the internet inspires more than its fair share of wack jobs, who think that hiding behind a pseudonym gives them the right to be rude. To be fair to Mr Lazarus and Ms Chong, they also do take a position or two that is different from the official one - namely they prove the point that this is the Young PAP blog rather than the Young Government Blog.

However, if you read through their posting, you'll notice a rather worrying trend - namely the inability of educated, professional people to think through the issues that affect the rest of us in an informed and educated manner. This is rather worrying because these guys are supposed to be members of the elite. Both Mr Lazarus and Ms Chong are educted professional people and you'd expect them to be able to convince you of the most interesting positions in the most convincing of ways. Singapore has thus far succeeded because its elite have managed to produce thinkers like Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Unfortunately, neither Mr Lazarus nor Ms Chong are demonstrating against the ability to think and if they are represenative of a generation of Singaporeans who benefited from the hard work of previous generations - I can only shudder. The only saving grace is their inability to think may produce a generation that is able to think.

Mr Lazarus has made his name through his views on the issue of repeling 377A, that is the code that criminalises consensual sex amongst adult men. Mr Lazarus, a practicing lawyer applies his analytical skills thus:

"With all this talk about legalizing homosexual acts, I was just pondering what would happen if such acts were indeed legalized.

Imagine men walking hand in hand with other men down Orchard Road, kissing, fondling and making out.

For that matter, imagine all that taking place on the MRT.

Instead of teachers dealing with boy-girl relationships, teachers would have to deal with boy-boy relationships.

Then, you might have the homosexuals all over Asia descending upon Singapore to flaunt what they cannot in their own countries"

Sure, this is a personal opinion and Mr Lazarus has every right to his views. But surely, one should expect a bit analysis and logic from a man that was educated and stands tall as an elite member of a society that prides itself in being rational, practical and logical? I mean, if this arguement was offered by your hawker stall auntie, I could understand. I would even applaud her for being on the net.

But Mr Lazarus is not your uneducated hawker stall opperator. He's a lawyer, an educated person. The fact that he's blogging on the Young PAP Blog rather than a private blog indicates he's trying to show his capacity for future political leadership. You would think that Mr Lazarus would be quick to want to show of his ability for critical analysis, after all the party that he claims to represent has always taken pride in selecting people with the courage to think through issues in a cool and well thought-out fashion no matter what the emotional pressures. But there you have it. I can only hope for Mr Lazarus's clients that he does not apply the same ability to think when he handles the cases they present him. Or perhaps this is why he's entered politics.

Ms Chong, who I think is in PR, does not do her status as an educated professional much more credit, either. She actually makes a comparision between the repel of 377A to buying MP3 players. Or perhaps I am just being sour because she's more successful than I am. Instead of being bitchy about the woman, I should applaud her for coming up with the ability to make the link between an MP3 and a piece of leglislation.

She does spend a good deal of time whinging about the media. Not the wisest move to make for someone in PR. Yes, I do have my issues with the media too but I work with it and when it covers what I consider to be "crap" I don't consume it. For Ms Chong, she lectures the media for covering a topic that had a national bearing:

"The consequence of this hullabaloo has not only been divisive, it has actually succeeded in creating more public empathy via a proxy of perceived marginalization - individuals with alternative lifestyle preferences. All this baloney in parliament has done no more good than brightened the lumens on a minority faction hoping to advance their attention-seeking agenda. And all the frenzied spin by media has done nothing but more harm."

Once again, I can only hope that Ms Chong's understanding of the role of the media in society does not affect the work that she does for them.

Perhaps I'm just a complacent drunk with a fat tummy, balding head and not much money, but I think its quite scary when professional people of my generation demonstrate such powers of analytical thought. I mean, its been drilled into all of us that Singapore has no resources other than her people. We've read so much about how we made the leap from third world into first within a generation because of our commitment to developing people. But if the likes of Mr Lazarus and Ms Chong are anything to go by, I would be inclined to support a friend of mine who thinks that every minister of education we've had should be shot.

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