Bubble Gum Ban Video and Singapore

A video titled “Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble” by Nicholas Carlton was linked to Singapore's metablog Tomorrow.sg. Part of the footage is shot in Singapore and refers to Singapore's Bubble Gum ban.

Some Singaporeans are not happy with the example use by the filmmaker. A comment on the Youtube page

I'm happy my country is clean because of this unlike other countries and this is something we don't really mind but want… anyway the rules now allow us to bring over a small amount of bubbglegum over from other countries if we want to… so it's not that Singaporeans are totally deprived of chewing gum… and you can get them at pharmacies too without providing particulars… so why don't you go use other countries as an example ?

At one point in the video, the filmmaker uses split screen to compares a street in Melbourne to one in Singapore. The Melbourne streets appears more dirty with used chewing gum stuck on the surface in several spots.

An anonymous comment on Tomorrow.sg says

The story for Melbourne don't seem to be happening in places like Sydney, or the city of Fremantle, where as of what I see was clean, free of gums.
I guess social responsibility attitudes differ in different areas around the world; kinda like the “monkey see, monkey do” effect.

Joy replies

I think anonymous is right about this being a case of different social responsibility attitutes. It would also be a better point of attack. Japan has no ban on chewing gums yet it is so much cleaner than Singapore. But I suppose coming up with laws are easier than cultivating a culture….in that case…ban away!

Another anonymous user remarks

Personal freedom has to balance with social freedom. A mark of a great person is someone who can accomodate different sets of viewpoints, so the mark of a great society is probably one where they can walk the line between the two.

The filmmaker clarifies on the Youtube page that he is using Singapore's Chewing Gum Ban as an illustration.

This movie isn't about bubble gum. It simply uses this as an example that most people can relate to. It is a case study in which government control can be examined.

It appears (from the narration track on the video) that the filmmaker is talking about governments in general and not just Singapore. He asks

If it starts at bubble gum where will it end? When we give up out little freedoms to keep our trains clean are we giving up our rights to make our own decisions? If our government can't trust us to chew gum, what decisions are they making behind our backs?


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