Monday, December 10, 2007

Singapore- A Nation of Campaigns?

Singapore is a ‘campaign’ country. Since two or three decades back, we had a slew of campaigns such as the ‘Courtesy’ campaign, the ‘Save water’ campaign, ‘Two (Children) are enough’ campaign, etc. Some campaigns such as the anti-littering campaigns are evergreen, which persist till today while some faded into oblivion due to irrelevance in today era.

These campaigns are medium of mass public education, intended to achieve a social or economical aim of the nation.

Of late, campaigns of a new nature have come to the fore. Though the aims of some of these new campaigns are still mainly economical, to a certain extent, they have taken on an international and global twist.

When Singapore hosted the World Convention the year before, there was an aggressive campaign to showcase to the world that our people are friendly and ready to welcome the international delegates via the ‘Smile Singapore’ campaign.

Currently, Singapore is in a bid to host the Youth Olympics in year 2011. Preliminary rounds have indicated Singapore to be in the 2nd position in the running for the hosting rights. To ratchet up the momentum and drum up local support for Singapore to host the event, a campaign is in the offing. Some signs of this campaign are
It is hard to miss the colourful banners put up across the island or the advertisement blitz via the mass media to canvass for support among the community.
Some youths have been appointed ambassadors for the event.
Plans to include ‘lessons of the Olympics’ (do not ask me what it is, I am not sure too) into the syllabus in schools are also on the card.

Drumming up support for this event is but one of the twin objectives of this campaigning. The other apparent aim would be to show to the judging panel that Singapore is ready to take on the job!

Another campaign with a modern day twist is the ‘Bring-Your-Own-Bag-Day (BYOBD)’ spearheaded by NEA. ‘Environmental-friendly’and the like are buzzwords of this era. This campaign with a green twist aims to encourage shoppers to use recyclable bags, instead of plastic bags to contain their purchased items. Response to this campaign among shoppers has been reported to be forthcoming and NEA is considering increasing the frequency of the BYOBD from once per week to a more regular basis.

It is premature to predict whether BYOBD would ultimately achieve its goal of reducing the consumption of plastic bags in Singapore. Such campaigns ultimately calls for mindset changes and it may take years before the community is accustomed to these changes and the fruits of these campaigns are reaped.

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