Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Post No. 90: (Rude) Singaporeans (Behaving Inappropriately In Public) Beware! "Little Brothers" Are Watching...

Just a short post before I leave for China tomorrow afternoon...

Well, if you all have read today's Chinese newspapers, you all would surely notice that "zbNOW"/《早报现在》featured, on its front page, this blog which specifically have a collection of pictures of supposedly rude Singaporeans and their rude behaviour on it.

Forget about "Big Brother" (cross-reference George Orwell's/Eric Arthur Blair's "1984"); now we have "Little Brothers" (ordinary people armed with camera handphones and perhaps a blog of their own also) watching our every move in public...

Of course, I agree that something need to be done to make Singaporeans less rude & more courteous (perhaps it's just semantics but, to me, being courteous goes beyond not being rude) and that this "Rude Singaporeans" blog may somewhat have a deterrent effect on rude Singaporeans who fear having their rude behaviour exposed on this blog.

However, perhaps I may be asking for too much, I would like to think that we Singaporeans should be courteous/not rude in our behaviour because we know & feel that this is what we ought to do and not because we fear that any rude behaviour of ours will be exposed on a blog.

Anyway, in my opinion, exposing people's rude behaviour online perhaps only deter people from being rude but it does not encourage them to be courteous in their behaviour. I mean, yes, this fear of being exposed and/or shamed online may stop people from hogging seats on public buses and on MRT trains but does it make people actually give up seats to those whom need them more?

Also, I can't help but wonder about the psychological motivation behind those who contributes photos to the "Rude Singaporeans" blog. Are they thinking: "This person is behaving in a rude manner. I will take a photo of him and put it online so that people will learn from his negative example and not do what he is doing now" or are they more vindictive, thinking: "This person's rude behaviour annoys me but I don't dare/want to tell him off in public so I will take a photo of him and post it online so as to shame him"?

Furthermore, though I may be thinking too much, what kind of society are we evolving into? One in which people can take photos of others in public, with their camera handphones, and post them online without the knowledge and/or approval from the latter? I mean, isn't this against the law or something?

And this online posting of pictures of supposedly rude Singaporeans is nothing new, considering that recently there have been photos appearing online (especially in STOMP) of couples engaged in inappropriate PDA (i.e. Public Display of Affection) and of people throwing rubbish from their windows (if I have not remembered wrongly, the photo was of a lady throwing an eaten apple core from her window).

Yes, you all may dispute that such photos act to deter people from behaving inappropriately in public. Yet, though I may be mildly extreme in my opinion here, fundamentally, the taking and posting of these photos online is of the same nature as taking and posting online the photos of women in compromising positions (in other words, when they accidentally "zaogeng"); it is a form of voyeurism. I mean, if people can justify the taking and posting online photos of rude Singaporeans and/or couples engaged in inappropriate PDA as a way to deter people from behaving inappropriately in public, people can similarly justify the taking and posting online of "zaogeng" photos of women as a way to warn women to be more careful in public, can't they?

In addition, it worries me that if this phenomenon continue, Singaporeans will soon have to be extremely careful and self-conscious about how they behave in public and/or keep looking around them to see if anyone is aiming a camera handphone at them, just in case their photos are taken and later posted online for all to see and to comment upon. Is that the kind of society we all want?

Forget about "Big Brother" watching me; I'm more worried about the army of "Little Brothers" watching my every move and exposing them online... Instead of a society in which there is a war of all against all, as described by Hobbes, we will end up with a society in which all watches all. I don't know about you all but this is quite a frightening thought to me.

Lastly, I wonder: who gave those who contributed photos to the "Rude Singaporeans" blog the right to "condemn" the supposedly rude Singaporeans in the photos they contributed? Are they themselves totally immune to perhaps the occasional rude/inappropriate behaviour in public? Are they themselves courteous in their behaviour towards others? Perhaps instead of pointing their fingers at those rude Singaporeans around them, they should reflect upon their own behaviour first.

And to bolster my last point above, I will just like to quote some Biblical verses (I know that I'm a non-Christian but there's nothing against non-Christians quoting Bibilical verses, is there?).

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." -- Matthew 7:1-5

"So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." -- John 8:7

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