January 17, 2009

Tell me what happens when you try to solve a new problem by using an old solution?


If you really want to know the answer; then look no further. Because that’s exactly what MICA recently bought into when they picked up and ran with what Cheong Yip Seng and his merry band proposed; the idea of setting up a dedicated committee to educate kiddies on the perils of the internet.


And these days everybody is jumping on the bad wagon suggesting it’s the best idea since the invention of the wheel. Even Ng Eng Hen, Education Minister echoed the same recently,


“In the context of our efforts in National Education, we must have a presence on New Media … We must provide a balance to ideas that sow discord and disunity (and) refute falsehoods.”


Now please don’t get me wrong. I am all in favor of the idea of protecting kiddies and I even buy into the whole claptrap that they are our future and great hope yada, yada, yada. (though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise as the ipod generation these days seems closer to mass hearing impaired zombies rather than something we usually associate with the verve and panache of the great hope).


Only when we talk about protecting kiddies; we all need to be mindful of one hubris: what happens when the whole idea of protecting kiddies slips into the domain of overbearing righteousness? What happens when well meaning idealism gives way to good olde fashion parochial narrow mindedness?


The short answer is; instead of driving out the bad currency; it actually creates the ideal condition for perdition to take root and fester.


Now if you think, I am exaggerating then consider this: Sufiah Yusof. Now ask yourself how did that great hope of humanity go so wrong? Where did it take a wrong turn?


Wasn’t Sufiah destined to discover the cure for cancer or save the planet by inventing engines that can run on tap water? Where exactly did Sufiah’s parents fuck up? Were they marijuana smokers? Nope. Did they lack moral rectitude to set a good example? Nope. Did they fail to shield Sufiah from the lies, disinformation and brutish world? Nope. Did they not discharge their duties responsibly by failing to inculcate wholesome values into her? Nope.


If you really want to know why Sufiah these days is catching ping pong balls between her legs in stag parties; then it bears out only too clearly when one sifts through the shattered dreams of her corseted childhood. The mini skirt prognosis is her parents fucked up big time. They took the whole idea of protecting Sufiah too far. As not only was Sufiah brought up under the pineapple KGB eyes of her ramrod parents who regularly made her feel as if she even had to put up her hands for urination breaks; she lived in a hermetically sealed world that made the Amish community look like the UN; where she was not even allowed to cultivate any real friends. As her parents believed they would negatively influence her with presumably their degenerative values; everything in the Yusof household was sieved, winnowed and filtered to conform to the strict moral stricture of her ramrod parents; if she so much as tuned into a radio station broadcasting pop music; she was rebuked; if she even so much as looked at boys then she was regularly told she may even turn into a mountain of salt. And the litany of do’s and don’t’s just goes on and on and on – my point is what did it produce at the end of the day?


You go figure that out – now I know what some of you are going to say right now; come on Darkness! Cheong Yip Seng et al isn’t proposing anything close to what you may have just share about the conditions that tipped the scale on Sufiah Yusof or the Annabel Chong’s of this world. All he’s really saying is kids should be told about the negative aspects of the internet, very much in the way road signs regularly warn motorist of bendy roads and blind corners. What’s wrong with that?


I disagree. You see the way I see it, there’s absolutely no wisdom (none whatsoever, unless you consider ploughing marina bay a sound enterprise) in trying to tell kiddies what is good or bad these days. I don’t deny that used to work when mothergoose and snow white was still around and the internet was still some defense network. But in the age of the internet, we all know that the evil decepticons have vaporized Snow White with their plasma canons; as for the seven dwarfs; they’re probably slaving somewhere in some virtual sweatshop in China harvesting virtual gold to be sold in e-bay to rich Americans.


My point is, things have changed so dramatically; that the old methods of influencing kids may not even work reliably any longer; makes far more sense these days to treat kids like adults and consider empowering them with the ability to find out for themselves what’s actually good or bad by teaching them how to think critically and if possible even laterally.


To be Con’t




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