Saturday 14 July 2012

PM Lee highlights wild boars, graffiti on need to be "messy selectively"

By S. Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia, 13 Jul 2012 

Would Singapore's leaders allow some "mess" in a creative society? That was a question posed to Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Singapore Symposium held in New Delhi, India, on Thursday.

The Singapore Symposium, organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies and the Asepan India Centre, attracted leading thinkers, politicians and analysts from Singapore and India.

They shared their views and perspectives on international and local issues.


Mr Lee used two recent issues -- wild boars and graffiti -- to highlight the way Singapore authorities are striking a balance.

Mr Lee said: "I would become messy selectively. There are some areas where you must accept that you cannot do things in a linear or hierarchical way. I decide, you refine, he implements. You have to have an interaction, discussion. There will be objections, you have views but something has to be done.

"We have a peculiar problem which you consider quaint. We have an abundance of wild boars in our nature reserves -- about 100 of them -- and they are causing a problem. In the old days, we would have just said solve the problem and tomorrow they would be literally gone. But now it has been discussed.

"There are animal lovers who feel you shouldn't cull them, sterilise them, maybe you should keep them in the zoo and have an exhibit of wild boars. Others would say they are part of the natural system and if they exist, it is good.

"But there are also families who say the wild boar killed my dog, another family says the wild boar knocked over my child, better do something about it. Finally, we have to do something about it.

"But we have to go through this discussion and engagement, and explanation and in the end, it takes longer but it will be done. I am not sure whether we will get the very last wild boar but we will solve this problem.

"As with wild boars, so with many other problems, where we have to do something and engage the people. The physical messiness along the streets -- graffiti -- I would strongly discourage.

"We invite graffiti artists, by invitation, to perform on designated walls -- with permission. But if you decide to freelance, extra, I'd better do an investigation on how it came about. We want to do this in a controlled way. If the Pandora box is open, then we can't put the demons back."

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