conspiracy theory

July 18, 2005

Over at No Concept I came across a highly astute observation about the entire National Kidney Foundation fracas. I have to admit that it does sound a bit farfetched, but then again, not so. It is indeed curious that the primum mobile of the entire kerkuffle is that paragon of free speech and guardian of the guardians, the Straits Times. Which, as we all know, is under government employ – so nothing that it churned out could have been without the knowledge of those in power, and they must surely have known the ramifications of this. After all, death penalty, no-one gives a shit. Gay rights infringed upon, no-one gives a shit. Severe restrictions upon democracy, no-one gives a shit. The government being too cushy with the military (rendering it suspiciously approximate to a junta), bringing about an opacity that is at once convenient and tragic (to those who have unfortunately lost their lives while being repugnantly drafted to serve the notion of the nation), no-one gives a shit.

But this, the two or five, or heck, since Zoe Tay’s on TV doing card tricks, fifty dollars that is phoned in after dinner from a comfortable distance, this sum of money: everyone’s bound to give a shit. After all, what is more important to Singaporeans than cash: two dollars can buy them a plate of chicken rice each, five can get them a McDonald’s extra-value-meal, and fifty can procure a convenient suck in the red-light district. Now, this: this, people will give all the shit that they have. Because when they find out that the money that they give out of sympathy, or guilt, goes to bloody buying the CEO a golden toilet bowl, they realised that they’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes and that they should perhaps have done a bit more homework on where they’re placing their bets and their trust.

The entire issue is just a whole lot of bullshit. This isn’t going to dramatically change the face of charity in Singapore: Singaporeans will go on donating bits of spare change when they feel like it (like when Charity accosts them in the train stations begging for coins to be dropped in a metal box, or when it arrests them on the telly with startling images of pain and suffering), and ignoring the concept of community work when they can avoid it. Because really, Singaporeans are typically a bunch of apathetic souls who really just don’t give a shit unless they can help it, or unless it costs them their chicken rice, extra-value-meal or blowjob.

I wonder what will happen when they finally realise that the government is pulling the wool over their eyes for a whole lot more than golden toilet bowls. And I am thankful that I won’t be here (probably) when it happens.


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