There’s this piece in ST that says that we should curb “slash and burn” teen bloggers. It uses an unnecessarily complicated analogy of the slash and burn practice used Indonesian farmers to clear peat land to cultivate crops. In any case, the analogy was inaccurate. Indonesian farmers use slash and burn methods so that they can grow crops that they believe would add great value to their lives, their families and also the wider economy. Irresponsible teen bloggers, on the other hand, do not aim to add value to anything, but to just boost their own egos.
The ST article says that we should clamp down on errant teen bloggers because they can split society asunder along fault lines of race and religion, causing irreparable damage to society. For that reason, we should come down hard on them, throw everything, including the sink kitchen at them.
I think whoever wrote the article (can’t find the byline) seem to feel this is necessary because Singaporeans are idiots and would unquestioningly swallow whatever we read online, feel incensed, whipped into a fanatic frenzy, go out and burn and lynch whoever we find objectionable.
That is clearly not the case. While there is a real risk that our racial and religious harmony could be lost if we are not careful, I also believe that most Singaporeans are not that hotheaded. Most Singaporeans are generally calm, rational, and logical when it comes to matters that are important (see the GE2015 results). I don’t think that most of us will go out there to wreck our precious racial and religious harmony just because some “errant” teens were ranting about and flaming things that they are not happy with.
And if ever these “errant” teen bloggers have such an effect on us, then it means that our education system has failed catastrophically. So, if (ever) “errant” teen bloggers do threaten our precious racial and religious harmony, then it isn’t that we should curb “errant” teen bloggers, but rather, we should fix our education system. That would mean that our education had failed in training Singaporeans to think critically, logically and rationally.
In fact, “errant” teen bloggers or not, we should really step up efforts to train ourselves to think (even more) critically, logically and rationally. Because only when most Singaporeans are critical thinkers and are able to engage coolly in rational discussions can we better safeguard and advance our national interests collectively.
Let’s prove ST wrong. Let’s prove that we are not unthinking idiots who would swallow whatever we read unquestioningly.
[Featured image: Straits Times Photo]