Is there a need to make people uncomfortable around each other by forcing them to share painful stories about themselves? What good will it do if there is nobody to address the root of their problems? This was exactly what Singaporeans witnessed in "Regardless of Class", starring our very own men in white, Dr Janil Puthucheary. 

Former Manager of AWARE Singapore has this to say: "There is a hunger, particularly, for everyone to share their pain, trauma, troubles - the more intimate, the better. The more revealing, the better.

I find this deeply uncomfortable, voyeuristic and outright unethical at times. It is claimed that vulnerability creates a “safe space”, and in my experience it often does the opposite because people are coerced to dig deep when they are not prepared to. These experiences at workshops or dialogues are often transient, this illusion of a connection with someone else in a controlled environment. Facilitators don’t take responsibility for the cans they open and when the illusion ends in two hours, we’re left to sit with the discomfort, confusion and emotional exhaustion".

It is no wonder the show was painful to watch.

Singaporeans, especially those in positions of power, have to understand that there is sometimes no point in forcing people to share their problems. Dialogues do not necessarily have to involve talking about vulnerabilities. More importantly, people who can make a difference have to learn to listen to people, embrace their different opinions and address their issues with practical solutions. 

"We need to pay attention to the way people analyse their circumstances and take their ideas seriously - that is how we learn to be better. We don’t scapegoat them so we can collectively wince at the orchestrated spectacle of things we already know and encounter in our daily lives. Nothing the kids said in that clip is a surprise, not to anyone. This was a pointless, cruel exercise and we need to be done with this insistence on vulnerability. This fad is doing real damage".

People with power simply do not see that they are opening a can of worms. They cannot even engage in proper dialogues, how to trust them to listen and serve Singaporeans properly? 

Credits to Kokila Annamalai

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