terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I Do Not Smoke

Not in bed, not in a loo.
Not in parks, never in school.
Not when there are children,
Not even when they're very young.
Not when women are pregnant
And the elderly are present.
Not in cinemas, not in a park.
Not in stairwells, never on a lark.
Not in hospitals, not near sick people.
Not where people are exercising,
Not where there's someone cooking.
Not in a car, not on a train,
And certainly not on a plane.
Not where there are animals,
Not when I'm in a temple.
Not at petrol stations,
Not at litigations.
Not near dangerous chemicals,
And other Fundamentals.

Er, yeah, weak attempt at a Dr Suess.

Nutcracker got Tomorrow'd today and I guess it's time to put my thoughts on the ban on electronic media now - no more allusions to the whole thing.

Hey, I applaud the ban. I know some smokers are real assholes; smoking where they're not supposed to, when they're not supposed to and so on. So yeah, kudos on the ban in some areas.


A blanket ban? Why? Only because Singaporeans can't switch codes. That's why. It's like the nonsense with the Speak Good English campaign and native speaker teacher issue. My friends and I are perfectly capable of code-switching: using Singlish at less formal occasions, or prahper Queen's English when we need to. But that's just us.

I remember how often I had to resist the urge to tear up a student's English composition because the idiot decided to use SMS-speak in an essay. It's not easy. Especially when Channel 8 dramas are so popular and the best thing ever to come out of Mediacrap is a sitcom featuring a Singlish-spewing contractor in yellow boots. And look what happened to him after somebody with no sense of humour decided he must Speek Good English.

Back to smoking. A ban on the source of the problem is not possible, because the government loses the obscene amount of revenue from cigarette tariffs. But at least call a spade a spade. It's not about healthy living or about making the air clean, because otherwise we'd see similar measures taken in a lot of other aspects of living in Singapore - pollution from bigger and bigger cars, dust from construction sites, better medical subsidies and plans (heard the Minister for Health on the radio yesterday talk about more people choosing the higher-class wards now that the subsidies are higher and the economy is better because they can afford it... Could it be people don't think that the B2 and C wards are conducive for faster recovery?).

I started smoking after the tsunami when I had to go down to Meulaboh and deal with death and destruction and the smell in the air. That's about the only thing that's changed about my lifestyle. I still drink as much as I used to, I enjoy being in pubs and other nightspots and meeting friends and new people. I like my music and motorcycles loud. I accepted that I was going to smell like an ashtray the moment I go to the places where I can find these things to entertain me.

But now someone decides that non-smokers should be allowed more leverage into my comfort zone because smoking is unhealthy? What the fuck? My whole lifestyle is unhealthy. Getting drunk is unhealthy. Talking to complete strangers in a dimly-lit room is unhealthy. Staying out late is probably unhealthy. Fuck, even driving is unhealthy, especially here. If you're going to be letting the people who are so concerned about their health into a pub, what's the next step? Banning alcohol? Loud music? Rock 'n Roll? How about fried finger foods? That's pretty unhealthy too. While we're at it, let's also ban double-dipping.

It's not their lifestyle. They're the ones who'd go to Walas on a Thursday and then stare stupidly at the band playing and wonder why the people at the next table are moving to the beat. They're the ones who'd be talking loudly and rudely while there's a set. They're the ones who'd leave by ten because hey, it's too late.

You can't have the good without the bad, though that's what our leaders might be telling us. But you know, that's what's keeping me going back to all my hangouts. I take the good with the bad and if the ban means that I am inconvenienced, so be it. I can take it. Why can't others?

What gets me, though, are the comments on Nutcracker's entry. And as I've indicated in the comment I left there - what's more disturbing is that there seems to be a radically puritanical streak in most of the young people nowadays. Everything's black and white. Everything's hunky-dory if things are clean, white and pure. Anything that offends their narrow minds must be bad. It has to be. Otherwise their worlds come crashing down upon their minds and they implode. You'd think that it'd be the older people who'd feel this way - basing their view on years and years of experience, enough time to build up some sort of stubbornness. But it's the kids who're thinking like this.

And it scares me out of ever wanting to have kids. Or rather, to raise my kids here.

It does.

In regione caecorum rex est luscus.


  • At 7:47 PM, August 04, 2006, Blogger  said…

    Since they are banning smoking because of "health" reasons, they might as well add all the artery-clogging food like cha kway tiao to the list.

    Maybe some sort of research should be done to see which is more harmful.

    (word verification - rueet. haha!)

  • At 11:44 PM, August 06, 2006, Blogger ejl said…

    excuse me, dahling, but it's prawhper, not prahper, and with a drawl. haha

    i blame puritanical streak on:
    - the increase in evangelical, tongue-speaking, take 10% of your income, religious institutions
    - the increase in converts to those evangelical, tongue-speaking, take 10% of your income, religious institutions
    - which arise from the lack of other useful/enjoyable social activities available to teenagers and adults that do not involve drinking, smoking, dark rooms etc
    - also, basically, SHEEP syndrome
    - and also, the lack of control and lack of direction in a lot of their lives (thus resulting in the attractiveness of those evangelical, tongue-speaking, take 10% of your income, religious institutions)

    but y'know, they're banning smoking indoors here too. but their reasons are based on the health and safety of the employees of those establishments, who can't be said to have a choice whether or not they want to be there. or something like that. better-sounding rationale, in any case.

  • At 12:10 AM, August 07, 2006, Blogger Terz said…

    ejl - I stand corrected, dahling.

    See? If that had been the rationale, I wouldn't have anything more to say, except to maybe mention that the employees of the places I frequent frequently go to the same smoking corner.

    So how's things? Coming back soon?

  • At 10:29 AM, August 13, 2006, Blogger dindon said…

    Can use the poem for our next poetry performance? Hah hah hah ...

  • At 5:17 PM, August 14, 2006, Blogger Terz said…

    dindon - Haha. You're kidding right?

  • At 11:10 AM, August 15, 2006, Blogger L-inc said…

    yup its freaky how fast they are to condemm smoking and people who smoke(and not sex).

    I've been told to my face that smoking is a worse sin than sex
    (i'm assuming she meant the casual random kind).

    I blame it on the extensive anti-smoking campagns every year in school (remember the fandi ahmad's 'too tuff to puff' camapign?).
    Expulsion/suspension for smoking etc... its created a very strong stigma if you have never been exposed to human being who does smoke.

    And face it the crowd that does go around tagging blogs mostly isn't the crowd in the yellow box.

    Or we're all just too young to remember what dirty air really used to smell like.

  • At 7:01 PM, September 13, 2006, Blogger Baby said…

    There is a logical flaw here.

    The reason why non-smokers want smoking to be banned is because it affects *them*. Not for the health of the smokers.

    Therefore, eating char kway teow and drinking does not equate to smoking, because doing all those "unhealthy" things affect only the one who does it. You can swig absinthe or rat poison at the next table for all anyone cares, but with smoking, there is *no choice* for non-smokers not to be passive smoking.

    That's the reason for the ban at public places like hawker centres and bus queues - everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike, are there. And it's just not fair to the non-smokers.


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