11-20 October 2002
|19 Oct||Cultural Capital?|
|19 Oct||Fare Gates for Left-Handers, part III|
|19 Oct||It Could Happen to You|
|16 Oct||MS Switch Campaign, part II|
|16 Oct||JC/Upper Secondary Education Review|
|16 Oct||More on Accessibility|
|15 Oct||MS Switch Campaign|
|14 Oct||ADA for the Internet?|
|14 Oct||Eldred v. Ashcroft, or the Mickey Mouse case|
|13 Oct||The Arts Community Proposal|
|12 Oct||Celebrations & Accolades|
|12 Oct||The 9th, performed|
|12 Oct||K-19: The Widowmaker|
|12 Oct||Web standards - making the cut|
|12 Oct||Star Trek: Nemesis|
|12 Oct||Some interesting links|
|12 Oct||Rejoinder to the Seatbelt issue|
|11 Oct||Yeah, it's me|
19 October 2002 10:46 PM SGT
When I read this article by Tan Hwee Hwee in Time (Time Asia, Oct 14 2002) I can't help but feel sorry for the people who apparently worked very hard to bring in foreign correspondents to help "sell" the Esplanade in the global media. The article's quite extreme, but the points she makes are pretty much valid - how the government largely sees the whole thing, & creativity & all, as only good if it benefits our economic well-being. Such is the crassness of their position. Anyway the double entendre of the word "capital" is intriguing enough - in the economic sense & the political sense.
Fare Gates for Left-Handers, part III
19 October 2002 10:43 PM SGT
For those of you who thought you'd seen the last of this, too bad. I wasn't really expecting any reply, but I received this from LTA on Friday:
Dear Mr Lin
FARE GATES FOR LEFT-HANDERS (CLARIFICATION)
FEEDBACK NUMBER: xxxx
We refer to your feedback dated 28-SEP-2002.
Thank you for providing us with more information on your earlier suggestion. As the provision of MRT faregate for left-handers comes under the purview of the Singapore MRT Ltd, we have forwarded your proposal to them for their attention.
Once again, thank you for your feedback.
Now the ball is in SMRT's court.
It Could Happen to You
19 October 2002 10:21 PM SGT
I recently watched this on HBO - it's a 1994 movie. Previously I've complained about the Hollywood custom of introducing schmaltz - fake sentimentality or rhetoric about how love conquers all or the greatness of the human spirit. It Could Happen to You is ALL schmaltz, yet I think it's fabulous. It basically dares you to be cynical about it; or maybe someone like me just needs to believe in the basic goodness and decency of fellow human beings.
The story is about a cop Charlie (Nicholas Cage) who, at a restaurant, runs out of money to tip a waitress & then promises to give her half of his lottery winnings or at least a tip. He then wins $4 million, so he, being the kind, generous, compassionate soul he is, keeps to his end of the bargain & shrugs it off - "anyone would have done the same." Yvonne the waitress (Bridget Fonda) is extremely grateful - she's quite poor - & as time passes they get along very well. Then the cop's wife, a money-grubbing caricature of a person (with an irritating accent), has enough of Charlie's generosity & demands a divorce, then sues to get not only the $2 million they shared but also the $2 million he gave the waitress (evil woman, the wife is).
Throughout the show the New York Post follows their fairy tale (Yvonne actually says that in the show) through the headlines - "Cop Gives Waitress $2 Million Tip", "Lotto Cop Nabs Crooks", "Lotto Love", blah blah blah & finally, "Cop Weds Waitress", & the narrator of sorts turns out to be their photographer. Do they get together in the end? (Of course, but as in all romantic comedies, it's the journey that's important, not the destination.) Also, the secondary characters, like Charlie's partner & wisecracker Bo, are very interesting, the dialogue is witty, the music is nice. All in all, I would recommend it for anyone feeling sad or bitter about life.
Trivia: Lim Kay Tong cameos as a Korean shopkeeper; Cage the cop comes to his rescue when his shop is robbed. Lim doesn't get many lines, but some in Korean that sound too authentic to be from him.
19 October 2002 9:49 PM SGT
After I read "Daren's theme is rooted in rootlessness / Heartland didn't turn out to be Gone Case" in the ST (12 Oct 2002; unfortunately it's offline) I went out to borrow Heartland by local writer Daren Shiau. It turned out to be pretty good, but all the more relevant to me because it follows the experiences of Wing (Seng) as he progresses through JC and NS, which is exactly the stage I'm going through now. He also interspeses passages tracing the early history of Singapore, especially the lineage of Sang Nila Utama, legendary prince who gave Singapura its name. The events in his life underscore the sense of rootlessness the protagonist feels as he contemplates his future & his relationships with others - family, friends, girlfriends etc. For instance, I loved this:
...Everything he was told [by his Fifth Uncle] had been the reality of his parents only years before he was born. But now, the accounts seemed unreal. More like stories than someone else's experiences. Would time erase his presence as well? He had lived for eighteen long years. In that time he had been happy, been sad, grown bitter, lost hope, found some meaning in life. He had met people, gained friends and achieved some things he was proud of. Yet, in one generation, this would fade from the consciousness of his descendants...
(Heartland, page 93)
Perhaps I haven't mentioned this before, but one of the few things I took away from my lower Secondary English Literature lessons was a love of the poem Ozymandias (by Percy Bysshe Shelley). I suppose that is kind of related to Wing's worries. In fact, it's so apt that I think I'll reproduce it here:
By Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: - Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
Besides the things Dave Chua (author of Gone Case & reviewer of Heartland in the ST article) mentions, like Wing going up to the top floor of a neighbouring block to take in the full view of his housing estate, I also found it interesting that Wing is said to live in Ghim Moh & walk to school - any guesses? Shiau is an alumnus, by the way. Though the characters are what makes Heartland interesting, Singaporeans can also relate to the descriptions of vignettes of ordinary Singaporean life - maids, Bugis Junction, you char kway, what have you - but I guess this is at the expense of the larger audience (he does provide a glossary though).
16 October 2002 11:00 PM SGT
- Why does a word you've written a lot of times look strange, as though it's spelt wrongly? This doesn't happen with all words though.
- The Flamingo Syndrome: Why do we humans feel the urge to 'stand on one leg'? Is our body wary of remaining in balance all the time?
Just some wild thoughts. Come back in 10 years & I might have found the answers...
MS Switch Campaign, part II
16 October 2002 10:56 PM SGT
Wired has the news: Microsoft Pulls Phony Switch Ad. I found it ironic - and amusing - that the real identity of the 'switcher' was uncovered using the File Properties of Word documents available - very careless ;-) But credits to the Slashdot sleuths.
JC/Upper Secondary Education Review
16 October 2002 12:23 AM SGT
The government has accepted the findings of the Committee on the Review of Junior College (JC) and Upper Secondary Education & will be presenting a White Paper on their proposals for debate in Parliament in November. In the meantime we can all pore over the committee's report (PDF format). For a good summary see the press release; IMHO the news reports of this on Channel NewsAsia aren't as coherent as the release itself.
The revamp of the requirements for A Levels is quite intriguing, if more complex than today's choose-4-subjects system. At the beginning of all this I remember everyone was more caught up with the recommendations from premier schools like RI/RGS/RJC, Chinese High/Hwa Chong, the AC family, NJC etc. on 6-year programmes for students instead of the current 4+2, so that smart lads can avoid wasting time mugging for O Levels & do other enriching stuff instead. The Chinese press had a nice moniker for it: zhi tong che, "straight-through ride" or something like that. I personally heard of this idea from my ex-principal at Chinese High, & my it was radical in those days, as was the suggestion to use alternative curricula and qualifications (e.g. IB) from other schools. Now that all this might become a reality for the 2006 batch onwards (Sec 1 now), it looks like the JC/Secondary school system is going to see pretty big changes. Of course we need more detail to know how much for sure, especially for the new subjects like PW (Project Work) & KI (Knowledge & Inquiry).
Yes this is one of the areas of government policy I'm interested in even though, as one might lament, I won't go through the new system & it really isn't my problem. Having gone through one iteration of it, I just feel that maybe I can point out the hits & misses, so that the younger ones won't miss too.
More on Accessibility
16 October 2002 12:03 AM SGT
This seems to be the week to talk about accessibility (see old posts Web standards - making the cut & ADA for the Internet?): there's a review of Constructing Accessible Web Sites (at Amazon) on Slashdot. Possibly a good read if you're interested in web design for the lowest common denominator. I was especially intrigued by this comment by the reviewer: "Chapter 1... presents some compelling arguments for providing accessible websites. Interestingly, none of these is based on a moral argument - they are all sound reasons why it is in the interests of an organization to think about accessibility.". Also, a primer for accessible web pages from O'Reilly.
I used to think that Flash presentations were certainly glitsy (& loaded faster & operated more smoothly than Java applets) but they were terrible at something like accessibility, since it's so grounded in the visual experience. The content was obviously to be locked in; you couldn't save images or copy text for some of them. How could users with custom formatting needs or screen readers make any sense of those things? From word of mouth, & Macromedia's website, the latest version, Flash MX, has improved by leaps & bounds in that aspect. If it works well then that's a good thing.
MS Switch Campaign
15 October 2002 10:04 PM SGT
Hmm Singaporeans might not be familiar with the Apple Switch commercials1, but recently apparently Microsoft tried to do one of their own but a scandal erupted concerning the switcher. Read all about it here at MSNBC (Microsoft pulls ad after Net faux pas) & Slashdot, which broke the story ( Microsoft PR Rep is the Switcher). It's almost funny how far people would go for PR.
1 OK to summarise, they feature people who have switched from Windows to the Mac, & they talk about the reasons why (e.g. Plug-n-Play sucks, too many crashes) in front of a white backdrop, & then at the end they announce their name & their occupation (e.g. student, SA). I think there are some videos of those at the Apple Switch site.
ADA for the Internet?
14 October 2002 10:52 PM SGT
It's quite coincidental that I mentioned adopting web standards to make them accessible to the disabled in a recent post, because now a case has been brought against Southwest Airlines under the American Disabilities Act (ADA) (Wired News: Man Sues Airlines for Fare Access), which until now apparently seems to have been confined to physical (or in the lingo, 'brick-and-mortar') facilities. The suit was brought by a blind person who uses a screen reader to access websites, & presumably the airline company's website didn't cater to that. Worthy quote:
"We believe that commercial websites that offer goods and services over the Net would be subjected to the ADA," [Attorney for disability rights group Access Now Howard] Behar said. "The implications would be far-reaching and (would) encourage Web designers and their commercial website clients to understand that their audience includes the countless number of vision-impaired individuals that use the Internet everyday. Even small sites should be encouraged to become accessible."
Regular readers might have noticed that I have a passion for news on technology & the law. Perhaps; they're important, if not interesting in themselves.
Eldred v. Ashcroft, or the Mickey Mouse case
14 October 2002 10:41 PM SGT
I've sat on this for quite long, but no more. Oral arguments for this case are ensuing at the Supreme Court, & I have links to a Slashdot post regarding Lessig's thoughts on how it went. Lawrence Lessig is the lawyer representing Eldred, arguing that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act should be struck off as unconstitutional. He's also the author of books & articles on the applicability of law to technology in the Internet Age, such as Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, & his contributions at Atlantic Monthly, among other places I'm sure. His blog.
To summarise, the dispute arises from the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act passed by Congress in 1998, essentially granting an extension of copyrights to 95 years, an increase of 20 years. Eldred & Co. argue that this is in conflict with the constitution, & more importantly, extends copyrights retroactively (to existing copyrights) which could have little purpose other than to line the pockets of the copyright holders further (Disney's the prime example in this regard, hence the 'Mickey Mouse' mention). Second, if Congress is allowed to extend the copyright terms repeatedly, even if after each new act of legislation there is a limited copyright term, effectively it would be unlimited, because there would always be recourse to more lobbying & more extensions!
But IANAL so I might be wrong. This case, & the legal arguments for & against, are complex, and is explained in greater detail in the Legal Documents section of Eldred v. Ashcroft (with many links inside), & maybe Glitterati vs. Geeks from Newsweek. Also, a Roundtable discussion on the wider implications of copyrights & intellectual property (Atlantic Unbound: Life, Liberty and...the Pursuit of Copyright?)
Footnote: The relevant clause in the US Constitution: Article I, § 8, conferring upon Congress authority:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
The Arts Community Proposal
13 October 2002 9:39 PM SGT
With the opening of the Esplanade (although it will probably host bigger international acts rather than local small-scale ones), the premiere of Six Feet Under on HBO, no doubt heavily censored because of drug use & the fact that one of the main characters is gay, & experiences I have had where the 'kind' hand of censorship has clamped down on films & shows I wanted to watch, the ongoing discussion about the future of censorship in Singapore, as part of the whole Remaking Singapore brouhaha, is extremely pertinent. Just a few weeks ago Channel 5 simply skipped the episode 'The Gay/Straight Alliance' of Once and Again because it delved into the questions the teenage characters had about their sexual orientation & where they (& the adults) stood on acceptance of others who are gay, things like that. & it's not like the show's on prime time; it's usually shown at midnight. Obviously the paternalistic censors thought that it would be detrimental to our society's values if we simply admitted that there are homosexuals around & we should be treating them with respect & dignity, instead of condemning them for what they are. All this does is encourage more homophobia & the exclusion of members in our society. (Anyway thanks to the Internet, a synopsis is available online, though it isn't a substitute for the show itself.)
Well, the deadline's over (9 October) but the Theatreworks proposal on censorship is really worth reading. I highly agree with their suggestions for a radical re-evaluation of censorship, to be replaced by:
- The principles of diversity & reciprocal tolerance:
(a) an acceptance of other people's rights to express and receive certain ideas and actions; and (b) accepting that other people have the right not to be exposed against their will to one's expression of ideas and actions.
- Rating/zoning/belting: By age, geographical area & time slot (for TV programmes)
- Recourse for complaints, instead of calling for what one doesn't think tasteful/meaningful to be banned
- Post-, not pre-censorship
For more details please read the proposal in its entirety.
Celebrations & Accolades
12 October 2002 11:36 PM SGT
Today's the official opening of the Esplanade: Theatres on the Bay, the home of the SSO (beginning in 2003) & with hope, many other world-class performing acts in future. However I didn't attend the celebrations 'live', because I don't like the crowd, or the fireworks, too much.
Also kudos to Pei Ming, my ex-classmate from RJ, for a wonderful performance at the Asian Games at Busan, winning bronze in the 470 race. Few of us can claim to have worked harder or done more for the country. Congrats :-0
The 9th, performed
12 October 2002 11:15 PM SGT
O Freunde, nicht diese Töne!
Sondern lasst uns angenehmere anstimmen,
Oh friends, not these tones!
Let us raise our voices in more pleasing and more joyful sounds!...
- Ode to Joy, Friedrich von Schiller, adapted to music by Ludwig van Beethoven
On Tuesday I attended the performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony, as described here in my original announcement, & here when I bungled up by going on the wrong day. Never mind, this was the real thing.
It's strange that I would first go three days early, & on the actual day itself I turned up late. Not late as in after they had started, mind you: I arrived 10 minutes before 8 & there was standing room only; apparently people had begun arriving at 6 or so. Definitely my initial misgivings about the turnout were, well, misgivings. For some perspective, the UCC concert hall has a capacity of about 1,700, according to its official site.
The performance: it was superb, albeit marred by a few babies crying & the audience clapping at the wrong moments. I suppose we can overlook the clapping between movements, since if you're not a regular concert-goer & didn't do your research, you probably wouldn't know - besides, it can be interpreted as even greater appreciation for the performance! - but some clapped in the middle of the finale. Sigh, but looking back (or rather, listening to the movement again), I guess it was easy to misinterpret the pause (of a few seconds) as the end of the movement. But these are minor quibbles. I was looking forward to the buildup (double basses, woodwinds, violins all echoing the theme) & then the baritone ringing out "O Freunde!..." & it was not a disappointment, but I was surprised to see the "big stars" (tenor, baritone, contralto/alto, soprano) not sing with the choirs. It was, after all, my first time listening to this symphony.
The words of the baritone that begin the choral segment are as follows, & for those of you who want to sing along to the whole movement, here are notes & translations on the poem by Schiller which Beethoven drew from for the Ode to Joy (Schola, Lucare) & even how it should not be confused with Bach's cantata, Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring (with some helpful explanation on the themes too).
K-19: The Widowmaker
12 October 2002 10:42 PM SGT
On Monday I watched K-19: The Widowmaker. While parts of it, I'm told, are reminiscent of the old submarine classics like Das Boot and Crimson Tide (the rivalry between the captain & executive officer), I had a good time, & it was clear that the director/producer aimed to honour the courage and sacrifices of the Russian sailors, especially those stuck with a penny-pinching & foolhardy military bureaucracy. I thought the scenes of the submarine above the surface (at its launch) were very good, as were the makeup of the old & shrivelled Vostrikov, Polenin & the rest of the sailors when they met up years later after the fall of communism (yeah I know, I've given away the ending; sorry if you didn't want to know).
Another point: When the reactor was failing & the only option was to enter the reactor chamber to fuse the leaking coolant pipes, the Reactor Officer, fresh out of the academy, was crying, shivering, blabbering, overcome with fear. This scene was somewhat like the last half-hour of Saving Private Ryan where the rookie soldier with thousands of rounds strung around his neck was too paralysed with fear to save his comrades being murdered in the room upstairs.
& there were people in the cinema singgering away.
I've wondered at why exactly they think it's funny, when if put in the same situation, being faced with near-certain death or a terrible fate, they would probably not be more 'garang' either. The men who each went in for 10 minutes to weld the pipes came out with hair dropping out, skin falling off & vomiting, & they all died within days. The scenes revolving around the failed reactor, & the heroism of those sailors in saving their boat1 & crew from destruction, were without doubt the most powerful in the show.
1 Apparently all submariners call their submarines 'boats', never 'ships.'
Web standards - making the cut
12 October 2002 9:36 PM SGT
Wired recently redesigned their site to conform to the latest web standards e.g. structure (XHTML), presentation (CSS), object models (DOM), scripting (ECMAScript) etc. (visit the Web Standards Project). It's been a few years since the advent of W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) standards, but till now it has been an uphill task getting browser programmers, authoring tool developers, web designers & even small users like me to adhere to them & make the Web a better place for everyone, because every one of these groups of people are needed to fix the problems brought about by the rapid growth of the Internet & the Browser Wars.
Take tables for instance. Old-timers like me (who learnt HTML in 1997 or so) are used to using tables as markup tools i.e. to arrange page elements like the graphics & text, when actually tables should properly be used for tabular data e.g. spreadsheets. This is unnecessary now with the new XHTML/CSS standards that provide ways to do the same thing, the right way - heck, with much more power to customise the look of it too. That's the crucial difference between structure and presentation: the clear separation of them ensures that you don't have to adjust hundreds of pages to change the colour theme, or use structural tags like tables to substitute for presentation. Arbitrary usage, or even usage of browser-specific tags or techniques (e.g. the infamous <BLINK> tag for Netscape, the exact way IE formats your page), results in either more work in making your page look OK in the various browsers in use (IE, Mozilla/Netscape, Opera etc.) or just abandonment of your audience using browsers you failed to customise for. Argh I can't really explain it all that well.
Anyway, again, look at Wired for a stunning example of what you can do using these standards - e.g. at the top-right of every article there's a way for you to customise the size of the text, although for some reason it doesn't work in Opera - & also read their exposition on the reasons for change, the new features etc. Following standards doesn't mean you're constrained by them; it assures you of greater power to develop great sites, with a greater audience to boot.
Is that the reason for the new look here? Well partially, plus I've been meaning to revamp Lzy.Data since it was launched as a blog. & all the better if it junks the tables for markup & all that; unfortunately I can't say that for this page yet, but I'm working on it. Of course it will look even better when I learn the standards myself, since I don't use some great (but expensive) authoring tool like Dreamweaver MX.
NOTE: An earlier version of this post said that this page was table-free; I had to reinstate one table for the heading because I don't know how to align the logo & the links using proper CSS. Sorry!
Star Trek: Nemesis
12 October 2002 8:40 PM SGT
For a long time I confined myself to monitoring only the official site & IMDB for news, but I got this link to a German site (TrekNews) which has pictures from the movie, & I couldn't resist :-(. I think I was directed to it by Wil Wheaton because there was a 'wedding photo' with him in his dress uniform, Insurrection-era. It's just too bad he was edited out of the movie.
From the looks of the pictures, & of the movie poster (at the right, & IMDB, & on the first page of the gallery), it's going to be another action flick with Picard & Data at the helm - anyone remember First Contact? It might be the best of the three with the TNG crew, but to me it still falls short of what it could have been. The poster also featured Picard & Data & their nemesis then, the Borg Queen. I have watched the 2nd, 7th, 8th and 9th movies of Star Trek, & it seems to be that they are forever going with the formula of the Captain (Kirk/Picard) & his right-hand man cum non-human character of interest (Spock/Data) fighting Villain du jour (Khan, Soran, Borg Queen, So'na respectively) hatching a plot to bring down Earth/the Federation/the Universe. You thought Schwarzenegger was always playing the same roles? Wait till you watch Trek movies.
Sigh I'll leave this rant for next time, when I write detailed reviews of those movies or something.
P.S. It's scheduled to open in the US on 13 December, & God-knows-when here. Insurrection opened in the US in December 1999 & March 2000 here in this ulu island, three months later; I hope Nemesis doesn't take that long. Despite all my ranting, I'm still a Trekkie, & when the TNG crew appears on screen it will take a very bad movie not to like that.
Some interesting links
12 October 2002 4:12 PM SGT
Radio waves could construct buildings in space (New Scientist): Haven't read this in detail, but it looks very cool.
The passing of the tough Iraq resolution proposed by the White House in Congress (296-133) and the Senate (77-23) has been generally interpreted as strong support for the Bush administration's stand against Iraq, even to go to war unilaterally. For a change we could perhaps read about what some of the dissenting voices said (from The Nation): Most House Dems Reject War Resolution.
And more to come...
Rejoinder to the Seatbelt issue
12 October 2002 4:06 PM SGT
A couple of days ago I got some email regarding what I said about seatbelts for back-seat passengers, & I'm sharing it here with that writer's kind permission (thanks!):
Subject: traffic accident
The above link show[s] the fatality rate of traffic accident each year from 1998 to 2001. Every year 20 to 30 moto[r]car passenger/driver die in traffic accident[s] and much more sustain serious injuries.
Let's have a rough estimate here: About 100 passengers every year die and sustain serious injuries because they do not wear safety belt. If they wear it, they may just sustain light or serious injuries. That makes a lot of difference to the family they belong.
We are talking about 100 families every year.
Moreover, no one will wear the seat belt if the law is not enforced on them. 1, it is not a habit for us ; 2, the passenger may be embarrassed to have the driver calling him "gia si" --scared of death in hokkien
Just a counter point here :)
And my reply:
Hello! It's great to know someone's reading, & cares enough to write ;-)
The figure of 20-30 is right, based on the police reports. But how did you jump from that to 100? It is strictly 20-30 - no pedestrian or motorcyclist is going to be killed or injured by a driver/passenger who didn't put on his/her seat-belt. & probably not all of those are due to not wearing seat-belts - it could have been drink driving or speeding, for instance.
Relax, I'm not being hardhearted or anything. OF COURSE less deaths & injuries is better. I was just relating it to the minister-of-state's comments on bar-top dancing: sure some doofus would probably fall off the bar-top or cause a fight, but does it follow from there that bar-top dancing should be banned even for those who can take care of themselves?
But anyway, back to seat-belts, the point here isn't whether anyone is dying from not wearing his/her seat-belt (probably there are) or whether pple not wearing seat-belts could result in more deaths or injuries (probably yes). It's about whether the police should be the one making sure everyone is wearing them.
Moreover, no one will wear the seat belt if the law is not enforced on them. 1, it is not a habit for us ; 2, the passenger may be embarrassed to have the driver calling him "gia si" --scared of death in hokkien
I see your points. Maybe it's a conflict between idealism & pragmatism here. Our government is essentially very practical; they don't have ideologies, they just see what works. Another way of putting it is that the ends justify the means: if you reduce fatalities by forcing pple to put on seat-belts, then their lives are still saved, regardless of the methods used. So your first point is about the government saving us from our laziness. No. 2 is saving us from our rudeness & lack of concern for the safety & liberty of others. We could stick with this policing forever so long as ONE person could be potentially harmed from doing anything dangerous, but will we grow as a people if forever decisions big & small have to come from the top?
(A side point: you might argue that there's little value in providing the choice of NOT wearing seat-belts, but the fact is that most pple already do so for convenience, & just put the (loose) belt strap on themselves to wayang in front of the police. Is it better to have everyone pretend to wear them or to let whoever wants to wear them wear them? I'm really not sure myself.)
In short, I still think that the police shouldn't be asked to enforce laws whose violation would cause harm only to yourself, but it seems that until everyone is enlightened enough to get proper seat-belts installed & give their passengers the choice (their families & children especially) enforcing the law seems to lead to the best outcome. & it seems the bar-top dancing ban will stay for some time too. My little principle could conceivably be applied somewhere, just that maybe it's hard to find. At least, that's what I hope :-)
Thanks for your feedback!
Yeah, it's me
11 October 2002 11:52 PM SGT
I guess this is the point where I put up another one of those "no, I'm not dead" messages. Many things have happened over the past few days, yes, but I think I'll write them all in detail tomorrow or sth, so just look forward to that. Recovering from a headache, you see. A bad one.