Saturday, 2 May 2009
There's nothing like a good slogan to motivate the troops. In Singapore this is adopted with an almost Confucian fervour.
Most buses are equipped with television and when Channel News Asia is not the active channel, there is a subtext of sayings and pearls of wisdom that play across the bottom of the screen. I think these are contributed by viewers but I cannot be sure?
There are similar motivational moments enshrined in public campaigns to fight off complacency and I noted during my tenure at NUS that they were also quite prevalent in the university world.
It is something that simply would not work as well in the West I would suggest. There is a residual cynicism that has crept into the minds of the electorate in these countries that would rebel against the practice.
Personally I do not have a problem with these homespun homilies but I wonder just how effective these rallying calls really are?
When Singaporeans really get motivated as has happened in recent weeks with the AWARE saga, they are a force to be reckoned with. I was hugely heartened to see the womenfolk of this country rise up and eject a small religious clique who had engineered themselves into the upper echelons of the organisation.
Secularism is one of the mainstays of this country and long may it remain so.