Seems like the hottest word in Singapore these recent months is the word ‘ban’. You don’t even have to say anything else – mention the word ‘ban’ to anyone living in Singapore and it’s likely that they will go on a tirade about the many bans that have been put in place on the island lately.
From the shisha ban, to the banning of consumption of alcohol in public at certain hours of the night, to the more recent (but less infamous!) laws to curb remote gambling, there’s no shortage of bans for Singaporeans to complain about.
While many are in favour of these bans, arguing that it is for the better of residents as these restrictions target vices and activities that might cause social disturbance, it does seem a little too smothering. After all – the activities affected by these bans are only available to adults over the age of 18-years old, and at that age, even if still relatively young, people are mostly capable of making sound decisions.
There’s no denying that these bans will see positive effects. The shisha ban will see healthier lungs (so would banning sale of cigarettes, but that would most probably see an uproar from smokers nationwide) since they are proven to be many times more unhealthy and taxing on the lungs, the alcohol consumption ban will see much safer and less rowdy Singapore, and the remote gambling ban will safeguard the bank accounts of gamblers across the country.
But there is only so much that can be banned. The underlying issue isn’t that these things are bad for us, hence they should be forbidden. Everything on earth can be bad for us – even over-eating, but it’s not possible to ban bingeing on food. The more important thing should be education about civic responsibility and moderation.
The same can be seen with the recent post from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong about the trash left behind at Laneway Festival. Compare this to Japan – which is largely hailed as one of the most polite and courteous countries in the world – and the citizens, which cleaned up after themselves after the Japan VS Brazil soccer match held at the National Stadium last year.
There is only so much that can be banned.
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