Why Do We Need To Put A Policeman In The Head of Every Kid?

February 10, 2009

You know what recently I came across a really dumber than dumb plan that some one is trying to sell to the MOE, MICA and police; here jump down there and read all about it and come back here again http://theonlinecitizen.com/2009/02/big-ambitions-for-anti-cyberbullying-website/

I know it even sounds like a well meaning kind of thing to do. Right? The whole idea that we should all protect kiddies – wrong, you see there is a big flaw somewhere in this loopy logic; for one it presupposes that conflict is necessarily bad and secondly this whole idea will drive out the bad leaving only the good.

Incidentally, that’s what they said about nuclear energy and genetically modified produce as well; it will drive out the bad leaving only the good. Not that you know it once you start glowing like a light bulb when you get too close to a nuclear reactor or you hold out an orange the size of a beach ball in the supermarket.

Something just doesn’t sit right here.

Like I said, I am not a big fan of wrapping up kids in cotton wool. I am not for one moment suggesting; where bullying slips into criminal intimidation and harassment it wouldn’t benefit from the sharp, short and shock treatment. Sure I do. ONLY I believe there are already adequate systems and processes in place – we don’t need another layer of regulation – and we certainly don’t need well intentioned amatuers to make a meal out of weekend warriorhood. (now don’t say I am putting words in the authors mouth. You go and read that article. I posted. And you come back here again and tell me. I’ve got the wrong end of the stick.)

Besides in the vast majority of cases as curious as this may come across; conflict may even be good for kids; that’s to say they learn valuable life skills such as conflict management and how to put their heads back when it gets lobbed off in sandbox fights, just like perhaps the way cubs learn to hunt when they chase pigeons or play.

What I think we must remember is that kids – and even teenagers – are still learning about how to interact with each other and they would benefit more from a dose of laissez-faireism than panoptical regulation; this is especially so in Singapore where the learning environment can be both restrictive and corseted; I could be wrong but my feel is they may need much more freedom when compared to even their Western counterparts and what really concerns me about this whole anti bullying idea is instead of freeing up young minds what we may be inadvertently doing is putting a policeman in the head of every kid.

That means everytime they type something online – subsconsciously, they may feel the need to ask: will my actions be construed as bullying? Will I get hauled up by the police for posting this or that? What if what I say gets me in trouble? What if this happens? What if that….and so on and so forth Eventually somewhere in this medley kids will begin to censor themselves; and this can only mean instead of nurturing minds who are confident; all we would have really done is level down the field of possibilities to something that encourages mediocrity and sameness.

Conversely; having an anti-cyberbulling site around may simply mean kids who would otherwise be better prepared for life, will never ever see the need to develop life skills to manage conflict – why should they? If all they have to do is run to their keyboards and press the chicken button on the first sign of distress – result: kids will never learn how to adapt and overcome conflicts, they don’t learn the art of managing themselves and others; and what happens when they go out into the wide open world without those survival skills? You go figure that part out. That’s fine if only all of life like art mimics the affairs of the internet; tragic reality suggest; the world for lack of a better word is just another metaphor for a jungle and there are all sorts of animals bent on a spot of mayhem at every corner. And don’t fool yourself just because you’ve made all the right moves to make it all to the board room in the ambient 25 degree celsius sitting high above the world, its somehow more civilized and safer up there. My point is the world will ALWAYS be a jungle – a place filled by motherfuckers, conmen, hucksters, charlatans, bent pastors and girls who are just out to suck you dry for what you’re worth in your POSB account. 

You see it’s an illusion to believe we can somehow insulate ourselves from the vicious and feral world; WE CANNOT! 

And this simply brings into sharp focus: why then are we trying to sell our youths the idea that life is a fairytale?

You know what? I can’t think of a better way to disable a kid and retarding his progress (and I am not kidding either). Can you?

Another reason why I don’t like this suggestion of creating a anti bullying watchdog; is it leverages on our collective sense of vulnerability– if we don’t do something about it real fast; the situation is going to get worse.

Now I am not suggesting kids don’t get bullied online; ONLY if we really want to understand the issues from the inside out; we may need to buy into the idea bullying has been around ever since man figured out one easy way to get dates is by using a big bone to knock out the competition; my point here is to state the obvious – this is not a new as it remains a very old problem.

And why is that observation pertinent? Because what it underscores (as I mentioned before) is there are already established and proven networks involving parents, educators and professionals to manage conflict amongst the young – so why do we even need to create a new caption and another layer of regulation to manage something which we have already been managing all these yonk years?

I mean if your roof leaks; do you built another roof over that defective roof? Or do you fix the leak instead?

Another gripe that I have with the whole idea of the anti cyberbullying idea is how it attempts to organize itself as some regulator (the liaison officer, Singaporedaddy even called it, the Spanish Inquisition!); now why is that so bad? Well the short answer is simply this I don’t trust the government or for that matter any government on the face of this planet, not with pure and unbridled power at least – anymore than I would consider trusting Count Dracula to manage the blood bank – I rather put my trust in good systems any day.

The way I see it anything that is framed in the context of kiddies just runs the risk of extending a card blanche to governments; as sooner or later what is bound to happen is function creep; now if you don’t understand what that word means just remember the idiom; give a inch and take a foot; that unfortunately is what usually happens when power is left very much like prime cuts on a window sill; it just gets gobbled down. As a result things just get ratcheted incrementally like how once upon a time; the Germans thought it was a great idea to instill discipline in kids by inculcating military values into work and play regimen; then somewhere along the way another layer of militarism was added in and another and so on and so forth, till what happened was something not so different from the return of kids from hell who regularly spied on their parents in the name of the state.

As I said, it starts small then it just snowballs and here lies the danger when we frame anything alongside kids; it doesn’t really matter whether it is politics to selling Volvo’s; put a kid with a cute teddy bear in the picture and 9 out 10; the brain skips a beat and you get your message across with hardly any resistance – you see those motherfuckers can never out snake me; who are they? Big corporations, Big government or for that matter blogs who pretend to be Big when they are actually very small like theonlinefuckingcitizen – don’t believe; why do you think every fast food chain comes with a playground? Kids! Why do you think most people sign up for personal insurance plans? Kids! Why do you think both Stalin and Hitler were regularly considered  father figures? Could it have anything to do with the fact; these mass murderers were also regularly photographed with kiddes? See my point now; put a kid in the picture and you could even pass off gas chambers as a day in the Banyan tree spa – and not only that; if you really want to know how useless a politician is; all you have to do is divide the number of times he presents his views to kids and inverse it with the period he has been in office; that roughly gives you his approximate weight in a unit of measurement; I call bullshit!

Nope. If I had my way; I would even go further; and declare every school an independent sovereign neutrality; like the Vatican; I would even depoliticize schools very much in the way we regularly gut out faith from politics.  

Exploiting kiddies isn’t my ONLY concern here; there is also the very real and present danger if we are not mindful about the whole idea of how to structure measures to get on top of cyberbullying; the whole idea of what constitutes bullying may even overreach into a domain that may threaten to infringe on our civil liberties.

Hey, I am not joking man; that’s what happens when something works really well; (and again, don’t said, I am putting words in the author’s mouth; like I said, go and read the article and pay special attention to the part how information is extracted. (You know what, I even spent $3.20 to buy Dotty a curry puff just to get a legal pov she said; “it’s unconstitutional.” And I don’t think she was referring to my eating habits either) the idea gets extended by analogy very much in the way lousy mechanics try to solve every mechanical problem with a hard knock with a hammer; that’s fine providing it doesnt skip a whole lot of processes – the problem is by couching the solution with kiddies right smack in the center; what we may be inadvertently creating is the problem; rather than proposing a viable solution.

I happen to be a great fan of processes; the way I see it; they’re like airbags; there is no such thing as having too many – more the merrier. That’s because where there is a process – someone has to evaluate and make an informed decision. In other words, its a form of checks and balances.

And one of the shittiest thing about this anti bullying idea is instead of shoring up the current system and processes by trying to make it better; what it attempts to do is to wing it alone; as I said; we already have laws and the law enforcement agencies to take care of that area (and mind you, we have one of the most professional police force in the region, if not the world!); the last thing we should consider doing now is to muck around with it something that already works; improve it by all means, tweak it even but don’t ever try to change or supplant it by making a mountain out of a word by taking it beyond its dictionary meaning.

My gut feel still tells me, if anything, we should be trying to find new ways to dismantle the acute climate of fear along with perhaps innovating new ways to further break down barriers and if possible destroy the policeman in the head of every kid.

This may mean letting kids resolve their own problems and if possible even letting them come up with the solutions themselves. Its bound to be hit and miss, some may even fall through the cracks; but in the long run my feel is this may yet still be the most reliable way for good to triumph over evil.

Darkness 2009

Check out the what’s happening here. You have to fill in the blanks yourself. I can’t help you all the time. A good place to start is why is does the moderation policy keep changing all the time in Theonlinecitizen?



[48) Singaporedaddy on Your comment is awaiting moderation. February 9th, 2009 11.18 pm


Agreed Lazarus.

I only have one set of terms: I want you to get a written assurance from Andrew Loh the rules for moderation will NOT begin to flip flop AGAIN during the debate; I am sure AFTER what has happened here and elsewhere; you can well understand why this is NOT too much to ask. Pls post it here in this thread bfr 5 pm tmr; otherwise the deal is off.

It matters little to me. Either way whether I start this or not; by now SUFFICIENT doubt concerning Gilberts kiddies anti bullying plan has already been generated here already; that simply means MOE, MICA or even any govt agency is unlikely to touch this bulloart even with a ten foot barge pole; civil servants may be stupid; but they still have enough cow sense not to play Russian roulette with their jobs. The way I see it Gilberts idea is already a dead ducky thanks to most of you big mouths.

I have already fulfilled my mission objective already; all without even firing a single shot; so lets be clear you need this debate more than me to clear up the air for Gilbert; get me my written assurance from Loh. And we will take it from there.

Remember ALWAYS you need this more than me.


<!—->49) Singaporedaddy on Your comment is awaiting moderation. February 10th, 2009 12.00 am

Let me give you flat heads a brief history of strategy; rule number one: never ever tell your adversary your weak points i.e don’t ever volunteer free information; you did precisely that when you told everyone here; none of you want to cross swords with darkness. Now what you need to understand here is this; most people here don’t know your torrid history with us; you know another thing Lazarus; they don’t care. All they want to know is whether Gilbert has a good idea. What preoccupies their thinking is basically motivated by self interest Lazarus, not what is good for kids; you need to keep this at the back of your head. That is to say somewhere down the line some of them may even begin to ask: why don’t this people dare to face darkness? Is it because this whole idea of this anti bully movement isn’t such a strong plan after all? Why does it even take 15 men to go up against 1? Maybe it’s not such a solid plan after otherwise why provision so much firepower? Perhaps it can be punched into Swiss cheese without too much fuss? What happens if I (as a civil servant) give tacit support to this idea only for it to turn horribly wrong somewhere down the road? What if there is a mechanism of self destruction within the plan that I didn’t know about? What happens if it blows up in my face and I end up losing my iron rice bowl job? Do you now see Lazarus how without even knowing it; you have inadvertently created the critical mass of reasonable doubt to snow ball and cast doubt on Gilberts idea in the minds of so many people here; please don’t say; I tricked you; I did no such thing. You did all these things yourself under your own steam Lazarus. Now consider this: what happens if you cannot even get a written assurance from Andrew Loh? Where will you be Lazarus then? Where will Gilbert be if this whole debate doesn’t even go ahead? Do you see now Lazarus how everything is lost?

People should know when they are defeated.

Good night Lazarus. You will need it.


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