Monday, March 20, 2006

Reaping what you sow

You reap what you sowOne of the most common ways of justifying an action is to appeal to peer example. For example, you'd hear of people say they are going to this party or that party because their friends are also going, or that some students are not attending lectures because nobody attends lectures in the other classes anyway. Some coffee shops justify increasing the price of a cup of coffee they sell because 10 other shops have done so. Even those in authority often use this same argument to justify its policies. For example, Minister Lim Hng Kiang cited Brazil, France and Germany as countries with compulsory menbership in their respective Business Federations to justify the law in Singapore that makes it compulsory for Singapore businesses to join the Singapore Business Federation, whether such membership is beneficial or not. Some companies have questioned this policy lately in the press and, through MPs, in Parliament.

It is no wonder that an increasing number of teenagers who are reportedly engaged in pre-marital and other kinds of sex acts as well as filming themselves doing so feel no shame at all. They justify what they do by appealing to peer example again. They simply make the point that they know of others who are doing the same thing. What they are saying is what they do (all the sex and filming) is normal, and by extension, should be acceptable in the society in which they live. They are surprised when society at large is horrified and critical of their actions. But can you blame them when that same society, as well as those in authority, often appeal to the same argument when justifying their own actions?

We reap what we sow into the fertile minds of our teenagers, albeit often unawares.

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