Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Haters gonna haaaaateee

Edit: At the risk of people taking me too seriously (through no fault of their own), I must qualify: The mind is like a zoo. There are many kinds of thoughts in it, big and small, herbivorous, carnivorous or omnomnomivorous. This one's going for a walk tonight:

With reference to recent articles concerning Yale-NUS College:

The Yale Daily News is by and large reporting objectively events which happen on campus, with the obvious exception of guest Op-ed articles. For this we should grateful, for in that respect at least does Yale stay representative of the America I know and love. However, the quality of the dialogue of what I understand to be a vocal minority is disappointing, but perhaps not unexpected - and with poetic license can be seen as a microcosm of the rhetoric which tends to be flung around in the larger States during this election year.

Complaining is part of Singapore's national identity - we sometimes get the general sense that we are prone and good at it even though we arguably complain as much as the peoples of any other First-World nation, with our First-World problems. I am recently compelled to claim this part of our popular identity, as my rage burns against the following sin:

#1 Ignorance

'Autocratic', 'do not support freedom of expression' and other phrases and words like them are hardly explored rigorously within the context. Some parties in the conversation are demonstrating logical immaturity, lack of nuance or just not giving a flying fuck about what Singapore actually looks like in real life. Last some people looked in the direction of Singapore, they saw the Chinese Cultural Revolution complete with dictator, red stars and police state. Which is understandable because everyone knows Singapore is in China. Many great American masters of rhetoric and public figures did effectively deploy hyperbole in order to satiricize something that wasn't right about their country. Now that lots of them are dead (and thereby worthy of monuments and meeting room names), their nation's children have learnt to equate hyperbolic language with literal truth. These children of this great nation are in grave danger - of becoming ignorant retards.

To be fair, age 18 to 22 is a forgivable time to be an ignorant retard. But as the Bible tells us that God will judge teachers of the Word twice as strictly, I take issue with ignorant retards who spread their contagion.

Lots of us agree that Singapore is not a perfect place. But it sure doesn't look like the run-of-the-mill police state where the cops are coiled up like a crouching tiger ready to pounce on any hint of dissent. I know because we young men of Singapore are the Police, and the Army and the Civil Defense. Our average oppressor-of-the-people sits in a guardhouse munching on a small palm-sized green spongecake thinking of the next fever or shoulder dislocation he can get or going home to slaughter demons made by American game companies. And earning real USD from the lucky drop from a blue mob which will never come. Far be it from him that he would have to do the paperwork associated with shooting, gassing or beating the shit out of 19-year-old protesters running around on their own neatly-trimmed school lawn. He probably doesn't even understand what they're so agitated about.

"Once freedom of expression is compromised at Yale-NUS, how comfortable can anyone feel that it will continue to be strenuously defended on the New Haven campus? Will Yale faculty feel uncomfortable about expressing views critical of the Singaporean government, perhaps out of fear of damage to our so-called colleagues at our satellite campus in Singapore, or perhaps out of fear of retribution from the Yale administration that has as-yet-undisclosed financial ties with the Singaporean government? Ethical standards cannot be compromised a little bit at a time and retain any force."

Academic research is a lot of theorycraft. But those tend to be thesis-length, that is many many tens of pages worth of content. Real content.

I cannot respect a theorycraft composed of mainly a bucket of bullshit with tiny grains of truth of 1-2 pages long. I urge the wider public to recognize that there are easier ways of obtaining those tiny grains of truth than sticking one's hand into the bucket of brownshit to look for it. Yale has been and probably is still full of smart people who know better than to odyssey through that bucket. To Singaporean counter-ragers, let me point out that the Internet is a big place, and that probably less than 50 people out of the entire Yale or wider American community have been high profiler bloggers, journalists or commenters on Yale-NUS issues. That means a lot of people not feeling the need to talk for whatever reason. Most probably aren't bothered enough, and that's fine, especially if they're busy contributing academically, creatively or otherwise to the body of American higher education. I appeal to these people to be proud of the decent things they do in their own world some seas away from here, to be proud that they are decent American students and intelligentsia. Not self-righteous, intellectually irresponsible wankers who are more interested in stirring up insecurity.


Be careful what animals get let into the conversation.

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