I confess, I find it comical when people in New Zealand express anger at the state taking away people's freedom... by giving them money. My frame of reference is being angry at the state taking away people's freedom by rolling tanks over them.
Hey, in Singapore, people must be free as free can be: there is hardly any tax, and *no* social welfare benefit. It exports only the finest mating-material for New Zealand's right-wing leaders. And look, just last week, four people stood on a sidewalk (one less than the number for which a permit is required for a public gathering) and held up transparent signs (which therefore did not cause any public inconvenience, because people could see through them and therefore take in an unobstructed view of corporate advertising legitimately taking up public space), and very very quietly (perhaps even silently) expressed a political opinion. Four vans of riot police turned up, forty cops poured out, ten for each demonstrator. Presumably to hand out money to them, in order to subject them to the repressive state apparatus and scour away their individualistic thinking. First hand report and pictures here at the Singapore Democratic Party site, and here by the frontrunner for best Singaporean male Freedom-slag Rockson Tan.
I ask him, "Uncle, why four people ah? They cannot find enough people to protest issit?" He said no, five people then consider no licence and against the law. Less than five only considered disturb people, is call public nonsense. I am thinking, the gahmen like this sure toolan, wait they change the law to make it less than five people is also against the law. Maybe they might say, more than two people is also need licence now. Like that die lah. You want to go Geylang to do three-way also consider illegal protest liao. You want to go pak tor, go dating also need two people but new law say cannot. So you can only go alone and pak chiu cheng.
There are many pointy-headed things I can and have said about freedom and coercion in the relationship of the individual to the state. There are also times when I am moved to say, as I said to Damian to his utter bemusement, "state shmate." People getting extra money to raise families is one of those times.
My breeding instinct has yet to kick in. I'm terrified of babies. I don't hate them, like some people seem to - I just find them weird and squishy, and they seem easily breakable. I'd get zilch out of Working for Families, now and for the forseeable future. But this chorus of single-professional-childless-mid-to-high-income whining has got to let up. Why do you think we don't have children? Why do you think we need to keep importing young people from other countries? Because having children is really really hard work. I look at the sacrifices my parents made for me, and that their parents made for them, and the very idea scares the shit out of me. All too often if you have kids (particularly if you are a woman), you have to give up your sense of self, your individuality, your dreams of becoming the first ManBooker Prize-winning International Criminal Court Chief Justice, your looks, your toys, your wardrobe, your sanity and your sex-life. You probably don't even have the time to watch childless Public Address bloggers who are quite nice to each other in real life, play-sniping at each other on their blogs about the ideology of welfare. Oh no! If you're a female Public Address blogger with a job and children, woe betide your posting-frequency and attending hit-rate - do the audit, go on. Double-woe! Having children, most of the time, is an immense restriction on your choices about where and how you live - in other words, a restriction on all your personal freedoms.
And yet... someone's gotta have children. Otherwise... we're done for. They really should pay people to do it.
Oh crap, but if you pay people to do it, you're taking away their freedom.
I don't see any meaningful distinction, in the case of Working for Families, between being a slave to welfare and a slave to love.
Check out TV3's Nightline tonight, 10:45 pm to see what some 'young ethnic voters' (i.e. not me) are thinking about the election - including my friend Tessie Chen.
Due to Asian-Brain collapse and competing priorities, Yellow Peril will be lightweight next week. Unless Pansy starts returning my emails. Expect pictures from the InvAsian show of a very cool Asian-invaded alternative-reality Auckland, and snaps & talk from last night's Rising Sun Sneaker-Swap-Meet. Hot. Asian. Guys.