Sunday, October 02, 2005

Savages

It's eerie to look at the pictures of the Bali bombings and think that 3 months ago, you were sitting in the same spot, on that same beach. It's sad to think of the lives that have been lost.

Above all, it's maddening to think that some people did this for no other reason than to drive a wedge into a society that's trying so hard to make things work. Just like in southern Thailand, you have a very small group of extremists who want things to tip over the edge into chaos, who want to see society collapse so they can paw through the ruins and remake it in their image. They hit out at the weak and vulnerable in society because that's as much as they can hurt, and they strike out that people trying to live their lives their own way because they can't tolerate that.

It's so ... petty. It's selfishness given high-powered ammunition, expressing itself in the most destructive way. Most of us learned to live with each other more than 3000 years ago when we climbed out of barbarism and established civil societies, but what we have here are the same savage impulses that humanity has tried so hard to grow beyond, except that now the savages have learned to justify their inhumanity with self-righteousness and "higher purposes", and have deadlier weapons.

***

I saw the headlines of the Sunday Times today. "Oh no. Not again". Is that it? Is that the best they could come up with? We'd expect any newspaper, much less the only English language broadsheet in a country, to not just tell us the news, but also act as a mirror for our society: our headlines are our collective banner and placard, telling the rest of the world what Singaporean society thinks. "Oh no. Not again" is a perfectly reasonable response at an individual level. "Oh no. Not again" is perfectly fine for bloggers. "Oh no. Not again" is hardly adequate for a newspaper that aspires to any serious standing, or wishes to show that it can do a better job than the blogging community of representing our society. To put it simply, it is, in my opinion, a lousy headline for a newspaper.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

hear hear!

said...

you are right.

"oh no. not again." - its embarassing.

tscd said...

Maybe ST is trying to make articles sound more personal. Whatever. A simple 'Bali Bombed Again' would be pretty much what one would expect from a newspaper - succint and it tells you what you want to know.