After I had penned and published the email reply to Fifth Azure on Monday (here), two things have happened: first, The Straits Times has published a commentary detailing what has transpired following the blog post; second, Fifth Azure – identified as Reuben Wang from Saint Andrew’s Junior College (SAJC) – removed his articles before meeting with Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Teo Chee Hean. His website, however, is no longer accessible at the present moment. While I comprehend the intentions behind removing the blog posts per se, I do not understand the deletion of the entire blog (The Straits Times made no mention of it, and some conspiracy theorists would postulate other possibilities, but I wish not to speculate).
I was also quoted in The Straits Times article published earlier this morning.
The student’s original post had some netizens expressing support for his views, but even more condemned his choice of words. Blogger Kwan Jin Yao, 21, who is waiting to enter university, said that while Reuben’s criticisms were valid, they may have been ‘obscured by the liberal use of expletives’.
These were my complete responses.
What are your thoughts on his post? Did he make valid points?
There were valid criticisms articulated (though I cannot ascertain the accuracy of the points since I was not there at the forum), but they might have been obscured by the liberal use of expletives in the post. I think DPM Teo was not wrong to ask for recommendations from the students – especially given the overall setting – but an individual astutely posited that it might appear to be too cavalier. It could also point to a desire for greater and more meaningful engagement at this level, even if it is with students.
Why (sic) about the use of the [F]-word? Why do you disapprove of this? As a member of the youth population, is the [F-]word and other vulgarities being (sic) used more frequently?
Vulgarities are ubiquitous in the army, and I do use it occasionally when I’m interacting with my close friends. Tough to determine broad trends though. However, in the context of socio-political discourse or discussion, the employment of expletives is hardly appropriate, and could prove to be counter-productive. It is highly plausible that views will be conveniently dismissed because of the way they were presented, and representatives might be less-inclined to take into consideration the perspectives that have been presented.
Do you think it should be seen as normal / part of youth culture / part of western influence on us?
How an individual chooses to conduct or express himself in his personal interactions remains his prerogative. I am inclined to believe that vulgarities do convey certain emotions or expressions quite effectively, but they should be used judiciously in public publications or interactions.