Do Singaporeans’ support the Death Penalty?
Goes the question by a street-interview conducted by TOC. On this basis, some are of the view that Singaporeans are against the death penalty. Not true.
There is a world of difference between not supporting something and being against something.
In an Indian or Western society, ‘being against something’ might generally refer to being actively opposed to it, and which translates to perhaps, being a vote-loser, eliciting strong opinions on the subject, or at times campaigning against it. However, in a Confucian, aka, ‘like that one lor’ society, not supporting something generally translates to ‘like that one lor’, if the people are told that that’s the way it’s going to be. So, the Chinese may generally not like something, but what most people on the side of the ‘opposition’ don’t realise is that it is not generally a vote-loser, does not elicit strong opinions, nor does it lead to placard-cum-picket campaigning.
Frankly, i’ve heard that phrase - ‘like that one lorrr’ - enough times and in a host of different circumstances to have me teetering on the verge of incontinence, which, I’ll have to admit, would be quite a discomforting experience given my partiality to tight jeans and thongs.
Leaky orifices aside,
One must understand that the strength of a Confucian society lies in its ability to produce a pen of people who tend to view the political milieu as one might the weather and get by with an umbrella instead. In a global capitalist milieu, it spells quick advance as unions, troublesome socio-political analysis, activists, humanitarians, human rights activists, empathy, compassion, and all other such traits that hallmark lesser civilisations such as the Indian or British ones, amongst others, are done away with. Theirs is not to reason why but to allow such an advance to define the meaning of ‘high’. The best of human traits are in other words defined by what’s left after humanity is cast aside for mammon. Doing one’s best whatever the overarching circumstances is where one’s focus is fixated. That, of course, leads to that degree of self-absorption that naturally produces commonly used phrases such as ‘like that one lor’ - as opposed to inferior societies such as south India where words such as nyayam (reason, logic) feature frequently in conversations.
So given the self-absorption and ensuing apathy and ignorance that inevitably results, a noose around another’s neck is not much of a strain on one’s own - hence, the irresolute responses given by most in the interview conducted by TOC.
At its core, the trick of Confucianising a society lies in having a chinese majority who are more amenable to being socialised into the Confucian mindset, given its practice by their ancestors, and which in turn makes cultural identification easier. Secondly, impose financial pressures on the people whilst providing them the means to circumvent said pressures through mutual exploitation and foreign investments - that in turn produces the needed apathy, self-absorption, and mutual alienation to keep them out of politics. Thirdly, get rid of egalitarian multiculturalism lest the population is forced to contend with other modes of thought and which might lead to critical political views and empathy. That is why numbers are so important and racial imbalances have to be maintained lest the tendency to couch oneself in the familiar is challenged by significant difference in larger numbers.
All these come together to produce the aforementioned phrase. One ought not to take it lightly. And it is within this context that one might begin to appreciate that the common understanding of words can take on highly different meanings in different societies. Hence, as I watched the interview by the TOC, I couldn’t help but smile at the true meaning behind the expressions of its participants.....whilst tightening my posterior.
related article: 'Cut the Noose' & 'SSS' - ABOLISH, Death Penalty