As a citizen of Singapore for 30-even years, I shamelessly confess that I skipped watching the National Day Parade yesterday. Yet, I was able to glean from the internet the most sensational highlight of the evening, as summarised in this article.
Popular Facebook media outlet subsequently posted a meme with the boy in focus, and from the comments left on the post, it was obvious Singapore society is now caught in a very tricky dilemma.
On one hand, there’s this group who admonished this form of meme; such memes usually signal the start of cyberbullying, and since this is a young boy we’re talking about, the attention (based on your perspective, it could be positive or negative) can end up being detrimental to his psychological development.
And then there’s this sad realisation that our kids have lost the “asian values”. No longer are our children the obedient beings who bring joy to the adults in the family. No longer do they possess the knowledge of knowing what to do at the right time, not to mention he should have known pointing the middle finger was an offensive, inappropriate gesture.
Even sadder was how many people (I won’t say majority, but out of 10 comments, at least 3 were saying) were praising him for his guts, as though being rude and offensive was something to be proud of.
I mean, yes, Singaporeans need to work on speaking up for things that matter to them, but it does not give us the green light to be offensive and crude. Telling our boss that his/her action was inappropriate when he/she throws a set of documents in our face? We should. Showing the finger at the said boss? All seasoned workers know that is stupid and a career-ending move (because other bosses will catch wind of this and think twice about employing such a worker).
Sometimes, I wonder if such people who root for the boy are plain ignorant, believe in such un-cultivated act, or just can’t wait to see the world burn.
At the end of the day, we are now faced with a situation where, if we lecture our kids to steer them onto the right path, we will be labelled as domineering and stifling their development.
On the other hand, if we give them such free rein to lead their lives without learning the consequences of their negative actions (interestingly, our society do not hesitate to reward kids who do well), they will eventually grow into a “thug’s life” (as some netizens have branded him as) which will either mean he/she will have a bleak future, or (if he/she ends up being successful in life) that Singapore’s future will be bleak.
How our society handles this matter can give us a preview of what the future of Singapore will become.