Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Come this June 1, it would be a rather symbolic day for me. It will signify the start of the new leash of life, complete with freedom to do whatever I choose. I would finally be leaving the life of decorum, discipline and uniformity. After 14 years of living the life of a slave to society, I am finally free. June 1 will be the day I ORD and the day my complete freedom returns.

Since the school going age, I have to conform to the whims of discipline and order. In primary school, I was always reminded that if I misbehaved, the police would be at my doorstep. If I went to the arcade, I would be failing exams and dropping out of school. When I was in secondary school, I was always subjected to hair checks, in where the discipline master would always never fail to warn us about the consequences of dyed long hair. And long hair meant either the sides touching the ears, or the back touching the collars. In JC, I was always reminded to tuck in my school uniform, shave, not have my hair touching anywhere near my ears or collar, come to school punctual, do not skip lessons etc etc..

In the army, it was even worse. I was subjected to hair checks every week and the crazy CSM would take a nominal roll and tick anybody's name that failed the checks. The hair must be consistently short and it was no longer not touching ears or collar, the hair must now be slope or 'David Gan' short. I was frustrated, I was pissed and I was rebellious. How long more can I take this torture? Don't forget the one thing that was consistent throughout this whole 14 years. It was the fact that I was consistently in uniform. Uniform changed from white to green, to beige and back to green again. My whole life is in a uniform.

Does this need to conform consistently to rules and regulations result in individuals that can only follow norms? Does this curb creativity? Does this narrow our perspective? I would definately like to think so. All my life, no matter how high up one is, there is always an order to follow. No smoking, No littering, No long hair, No tucking out of uniforms, no talking in lecture theatres. You get the idea.

After we turn 21, the government start asking us: " Where are all the entrepreneurs? Where are all the literary geniuses? Where are all the people that dare to take on a challenge and do something new? " They can't find it and they promptly bring in a foreigner in which they go on and rave how good he is and how Singaporeans should learn from him. Excuse me, can we look at how we are brought up first? Can we get rid of something called the SAF? Can our environment nurture a creative individual?

I do not wish to answer this. The facts are laid out for all to see. Creativity depends on the environment. Using a big brush to paint the masses black and you would create an output that would forever be dull. No one would dare to be different and it is not that they are docile, they have mastered the art of obedience. And this is after 14 years of drilling in the supposed ' correct path' where a strand of dyed hair would mean straying onto a path to perdition.

Taking a risk has now been an exception rather than a rule for me. I salute the people out there who are now trying to break out of this cycle of doom. In an environment that leaves no room for creativity and variance, the idea of being different would seem alien to many. I seek to point out the flaws in this system but I hope someone would work to break out of it. Must we really go down the Satre-Heidegger protest against norms of existing society?

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