Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Singapore’s most famous student?

I sat up when I read from The Telegraph this bit about Lady Thatcher's funeral:  
Among the protesters was David Winslow, 22, a student from Singapore who is studying anthropology at Durham University.
He was holding a placard featuring a tombstone with the inscription, "Rest of us in poverty" and wearing a home-made t-shirt with the words "Power to the people" on the front and "Society does exist" on the back.
Mr Winslow admitted he was too young to remember anything about Lady Thatcher's time in office but said he had seen first-hand how people were suffering under the Coalition's cuts.
He said: "I have nothing personal against Margaret Thatcher. I never met her. But what I do oppose are her policies and the continuation of the policies that she started under the current Tory Government.
"These are policies that I believe are causing great harm to society."
He said he would be turning his back when the cortege passed, adding: "We want to maintain a dignified protest and not have people cat-calling and jeering. I would not like to make this about her personally.”  
It is a great embarrassment to me as a Singaporean and also as an anthropologist.

I have nothing personal against Mr Winslow. I never met him. But what I do oppose are his blinkered views about:

"Rest of us in poverty": He can hardly be impoverished as a Singaporean student at Durham University. He wants to know poverty, I will show him poverty. Did his father have to borrow from loansharks to pay for textbooks? No, delete that. It is not kind of me to drag his father into this discussion.

Is he referring to Britons who are impoverished? Clearly he knows nothing about the benefits system. I do. (Just read any of my recent posts.)

"Society does exist”: This is clearly referring to what Lady Thatcher was supposed to have said that there was no such thing as ‘society’.
I worked alongside people who said, “Why bother to save? ‘Social’ would take care of that, right?”

‘Social’ refers to ‘social services’. So forget contraception. Have a baby at 15. ‘Social’ will take care of me.

Today The Bishop of London clarified (again) what she meant: Don't blame 'society'. We are interdependent. We each need to be responsible for ourselves and our neighbours. Do not  expect ‘Social’ or ‘society’ to pick up the tab when we ruin our lives. The problem in Britain today is many people cannot face up to the consequences of their choices and actions. It is always someone else’s fault.

What is wrong with preaching some self-respect and responsibility?

‘Coalition's cuts’: The welfare budget has not been cut. Now if you and/or your spouse are working 40 hours a week and just about make ends meet. You have not had a holiday for three years. New shoes? Only because your only pair had worn out.

Then you find neighbours who do not work and take home more in benefits by choosing not to work, or pretend to be too ill to work, or have another baby so they do not need to work. Yes, there is a cap on benefits. It means that people on benefits do not get more than the average income of an average worker.

A newly-qualified teaching (with postgraduate diploma) gets about £25,000 before tax. There are workless families getting more than £26,000 (net) for not working. How can you create economic growth when people are richer on benefits than when working?

“Too young to remember anything about Lady Thatcher's time in office”: Well, I was not. I was a sociology/anthropology undergraduate/postgraduate and read the left-wing Guardian and New Statesman at NUS Library (Current Periodicals). But I evaluated the data and came down on the side of Thatcher.

I would not like to make this about him personally.

I am sure he was quoted out of context just as Lady Thatcher was often quoted out of context.

Why would a 22-year-old Singaporean -- born after the Lady left office -- with no recollection at all of Thatcher hold such views?  
  • Because he has been brain-washed by the left-wing academics in Britain?
  • Because he is a product of an education system which only regurgitates what the teacher says?
  • Because the freedom to protest is O! so liberating?
  • All of the above?

Update 19th April 2013 17:22: Two people posted comments below. Neither identified himself/herself sufficiently so I am minded to delete both posts. Please, ha, if you want to say something, don't hide behind a veil. However as I support freedom of expression I shall leave these in, for now.


The said...

/// but said he had seen first-hand how people were suffering under the Coalition's cuts. ///

Who could have seen first-hand how people suffered? He wasn't even born yet.

Anonymous said...

He is referring to people who live in cities which have been hollowed out by Thatcher's policies. Go to any Northern city or a Welsh former mining town and you will see how her policies which enriched her banker cronies continue to punish the people. The student comes from a good Singaporean family with a strong tradition of public service which is why he understands these things.....

LSP said...

Reply to 'The' (please would you identify yourself more adequately):
To be fair, I think Mr Winslow is referring to the current Coalition government.

Reply to 2cf08eec-42b0-11e1-8c52-000f20980440 with the opaque identifier. Very clever. I am no techie so I cannot track you down (yet). You obviously know Mr Winslow well, as you talked about his family and all that. Perhaps you are Mr Winslow himself.

I can also see that he is a caring person. However he might be of better help to the people he cares so much for by understanding why, for example, they have not capitalized on the comprehensive benefits system and the free health and education this country provides. What can we do to get people to start their own little business, for example?
Anthropologists have shown that throwing money at people in developing countries does not help development. You end up with a culture of dependency. Why do you think that throwing money at people in Britain would help? Micro-financing in many third-world countries has helped many people to become self-sufficient. Is that a model we can emulate?

There are government and private schemes where people can borrow seed money to start a business and still receive their benefits for up to six months. Did you know that?

Bankers get a lot of flak. But you know this country has written out the influence of God in all areas of life for so long, is it any wonder that people get greedy? Before the welfare state, Christian capitalists provided much of the welfare. They were responsible capitalists. Instead of bashing the banker and every capitalist, become one, and show that you can make a difference. Like Warren Buffet, for example.

Making money in itself is not a problem. But the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.