The missus has to work OT today due an ’emergency’ that can only be described as downright silly- some Malaysian blogs are saying that some Singapore civil servants were supporters at their Bersih rally which took place some weeks back and this has caused a big hoo-ha on the official front (see story here).

I honestly think the whole matter has been overblown. So three Singapore high commission staff were at the rally in their personal capacity and one of them was accused of wearing a yellow t-shirt (the Singapore high comm has denied this though) which therefore, must be taken as a sign of support for the rally.

Come on! How stupid is this? Unless the said staff was standing among the supporters,chanting pro-rally slogans, I won’t be convinced that she was a supporter of the rally by virtue of shirt colour. You might as well accuse her or being pro Thai monarchy (Yellow is the Thai Monarchy’s ascribed colour) or pro Yellow-ribbon project. Her t-shirt colour could very well just have been a coincidence. But no…everyone loves a conspiracy.

Unfortunately, that politics. Human beings will naturally form groups/cliques and as with most group dynamics in a free country, bigger is better. Psychologists and behavioural economists will also tell you that it affects your behaviour (see here). Sadly, even though bigger is better, you cannot control the type of people you get. Inevitably, there will be the ones who come up with something stupid, like the Malaysian bloggers in this case, but if the notion gets popular enough, it will be supported by the group. And because of this hyper-sensitivity, molehills get turned into mountains and causes ripples that spread so far that my missus has to OT tonight.

Now, if you’re wondering what has that got to do with me, the reason is that I used to work in the same place as my missus. I used to see this same shit happen every now and then, where work falls on our plate not because of a real crisis generated by unfortunate circumstance but because of real human stupidity. And somewhere in the back of my mind, I’d think “if only people weren’t this stupid and/or selfish, the world would really be a better place.” Now, the flipside is that of course, it’s precisely because of this stupidity that my wife has a job but I would say that’s falling for the broken window fallacy.

Which reminds me of an debate I had with a friend many, many years back. I remarked that if it’s possible, I wouldn’t like to do reservist because I felt I could better contribute to society with the same time spent in reservist. Reacting immediately, he lamented that if everyone thought like me, our country was going to the dogs, and that I was being unpatriotic.

What he failed to see is that most NS men called to do reservist duties are so pathetically unfit (just go check out the number of NS men who can’t even pass their IPPT every year) because they spend the better part of their lives working in a cushy environment coupled with a calorie-laden diet that was useful for previous generations that were used to hard labour but  contributes to severe weight gain in ours. Now pray tell, would I be more useful doing whatever I usually do or spending some weeks in the army re-learning everything that I learnt when I was 18? And for what ends? In the event we go to war because someone (either them or us) did something stupid. I don’t think there’s ever been a good (as in pareto-optimal) reason for any war that’s been started.

Which is why I love my current job much more- I get to impart my thoughts to the next generation. And hopefully they learn not to do something stupid.

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