Pre-U Seminar issues: From gum to gays
This year’s Pre-University Seminar kicked off yesterday with Mr Lim Swee
Say talking to 500 students about Realising the Renaissance Spirit in
Singapore. During a lively 40-minute question-and-answer session, he
fielded questions ranging from the chewing-gum ban to the cancelled gay forum.
Q (from a student): Do you agree the Government should relax its control
and allow Singapore to truly realise the Renaissance spirit? Some examples
of control are the ban on smoking and chewing gum, and the gay forum which
was denied a permit.
A (by Lim Swee Say): Well, regarding the ban on smoking in public areas, I
am all for it.
I have had a sinus problem for 20 years now. The moment I smell cigarette
smoke, my nose begins to run. Since the ban, my allergies have stopped.
So, in terms of the Renaissance spirit, which is also about raising one’s
quality of life, the ban on smoking is good for me.
As for the chewing-gum ban, when I was with the Economic Development Board,
I visited Disneyland in the United States as part of a team sent to study
the possibility of bringing it here. I was amused to find that chewing gum
is not sold anywhere inside the park because the management, like our
Government, knew what would happen to the machines if gum was allowed. So,
in a way, Singapore works like Disneyland and no one complains about too
much control in Disneyland. Also, there is nothing which says that to be
creative, you have to chew gum.
As for the gay forum, I do not believe that a single group of people in
Singapore has the right to publicise its lifestyle and impose it on others.
I am an avid golfer, but I do not hold a forum on golfing to say how much I
love golf and convince others it is good.
Lim Swee Say is a Minister of State.
This article was first archived by Alex Au on SiGNeL: