terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Smoke Out

Got a copy of Today for the first time in a long while, er, today, and was a tad disturbed by the letters sent in in response to a Dave 'Concerned Citizen' Paddon, who advocated 'paying back smokers with spray of water'.

First of all: free world.

Deal with it.

Smoke smells? Don't stand near smokers; don't go to pubs/ night spots where smokers will hang out; don't walk past known smoking areas; stay the fuck away from stairwells.

Spray water? Sure, if you want to lose the pants you're wearing in a lawsuit. Which seems to be the gist of the first two letters in response:

"Stay Away From Smokers If Bothered" - Letter from Kamala Dewi

"Why Stop At Spraying Water?" - Letter from Joshua Lee (who takes the suggestion to the next logical level if people are idiotic enough to seriously consider Mr Paddon's idea - spray someone who sneezes and coughs with disinfectant, spray someone with body odour with deodorant - you get the idea).

But the one letter in support of sprayage? Quite unbelievable:

Be Cool, Don't Puff
Letter from Jocelyn Koh

Dave Paddon is very kind when he proposes that non-smokers be allowed to spray water at invasive smokers. I always have a strong urge to spray ammonia or nitrogen gas on their faces...

Uh, nitrogen gas? And ammonia? At someone's face? OK, I don't know what nitrogen gas would to do to someone, apart from putting out a lit splint in the person's face, or to improve the person's ability to produce chlorophyll, but I pretty sure throwing ammonia isn't pleasant.

Wait, has this become seditious? Did someone just abet negative feelings in someone else against a specified portion of society? I. Am. So. Confused. That law, that law that I haven't heard of, and hasn't been used from the time when Singapore's average daytime temperature was a lot lower than it is now, when I still had a reason to want to live in Singapore for as long I lived, that law is just so gosh-darn'd confusing...

Of course, I'm more upset with Jocelyn for ending her letter with rhetorical questions... we all know how I feel about them (won't reproduce the rest of the letter here - wasn't very well-written anyway...).


  • At 10:07 PM, October 03, 2005, Blogger tbh said…

    What about smoking in shopping centre toilets (illegal, I think) – yes, every single one of them accessible in the several minutes between nature call and uncontrollable peeing into pants.

    Luckily I am generous and give up my right to breathe for a minute rather than somebody else's right to break the law. Brave and noble, huh.

    But really – applying Dave Paddon's idea to, say, smacking anybody who's ever written something stupid in the Today/Straits Times/Crap Factory would do everybody a world of good.

  • At 12:08 AM, October 05, 2005, Blogger wahj said…

    People are inherently cruel. It only takes a modicum of social justification for them to propose the most cruel acts - e.g. Smokers are Bad, therefore it's ok to spray ammonia in their faces. This is merely a variation, albeit on a smaller scale, of the same kind of rationalisation that people have used to justify cruelty to others. Label something as evil, either at a societal level, or in your own mind, and it becomes easy to perpetrate acts of equivalent evil and still sleep sound in your bed. The Stanford prison experiment showed how powerful social justification could be as in cancelling basic morality.

    To put it simply: wrong does not justify equivalent wrong-doing.

  • At 2:04 AM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Terz said…


    It took me a while to decide whether or not to include another paragraph that I had in the draft post, the one that began "the last time a whole society decided that a group of people in their country was no good for them was, I believe, circa 1936...".

    Dropped that, obviously.

  • At 4:36 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Cowboy Caleb said…

    You can get a free copy of Today every morning at 8am. They're just lying in a stack at my lobby.

  • At 8:25 PM, October 05, 2005, Blogger Terz said…

    Nah, no need. Not a big fan of the tabloids and broadsheets in Singapore anyway. I get the real news from elsewhere.


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