The Dartmouth Observer

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Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Meanwhile, back home...

Now this is absolutely hilarious. Money quotes:

"I do not believe it is possible to be creative if you do not know how to enjoy yourself" - is that really sexual innuendo by a government official?

"We need to reach deep inside ourselves to find out what turns us on" - see above.

"...boredom is very corrosive to the human spirit" - oh dear, oh dear...coming from a minister, of all people...

"In recent years, officials have taken small steps to spice up the nightlife, such as allowing some explicit language in plays" - egads! Nothing could improve the nightlife more than explicit language!

Okay, seriously now. I find it incredibly ironic - but not terribly surprising - that the Minister of State for National Development (read: Minister for State Propaganda) should be telling people to loosen up and enjoy themselves. I find it equally ironic that the government should be trying to foster creativity and artistic expression. The Singaporean government, efficient though it may be, is as dull as dishwater. It's representatives, trained in exciting disciplines such as Biophysimechanical Engineering, have no idea what it means to be creative, and I speak from personal experience here. Even if they do, does anyone really believe that a state-sponsored program to increase creativity will succeed? Especially when the aim of such increased creativity is not increased creativity in itself, but reviving "the country's flagging economy as it faces rising competition from other Asian countries in its staple industry, high-tech manufacturing." As Reagan said, government is not the solution, it's the problem. If the ruling People's Action Party (PAP) is really interested in bringing about a cultural renaissance, Southeast Asian-style, then it needs to stop being the arbiter of taste and the vanguard of the people. It needs to increase personal and political freedoms, and stop censoring the press. In short, it could afford to be more American.