“More honour’d in the breach than the observance.”

Slate has begun a series on U.S. laws that aren’t observed or enforced:

The importance of understanding why and when we will tolerate lawbreaking cannot be overstated. Lawyers and journalists spend most of their time watching the president, Congress, and the courts as they make law. But tolerance of lawbreaking constitutes one of the nation’s other major—yet most poorly understood—ways of creating social and legal policy. Almost as much as the laws that we enact, the lawbreaking to which we shut our eyes reflects how tolerant U.S. society really is to individual or group difference. It forms a major part of our understanding of how the nation deals with what was once called “vice.” While messy, strange, hypocritical, and in a sense dishonest, widespread tolerance of lawbreaking forms a critical part of the U.S. legal system as it functions.

Start reading here: American Lawbreaking

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Advice from a friend

Peter Schwartz — respected futurist and scenario thinker — travels to Singapore fairly often. He’s been a long-time adviser to the civil service here too.

DESPITE its many technological and scientific accomplishments, Singapore still suffers from a major image problem, said Mr Peter Schwartz, co-founder and chairman of the Global Business Network.

“People in the industrialised world don’t know very much about Singapore other than the trivial and the silly stuff like the banning of chewing gum and your homosexual laws,” said Mr Schwartz, 61, a key adviser to businesses and governments around the world.

And yet, this detracted from the profound achievements of Singapore over the last 40 years, he said. Singaporeans were, he observed, more tolerant of gays than what the law allows and the reputation of the country would be hugely enhanced if there was, for example, more room for dissent.

From TODAY, 11th October 2007

A Litany of Complaints

(If you haven’t heard of the Complaints Choir Project yet, just watch the following clip.)

The Project’s coming to Singapore, and looking for Singaporeans.

The M1 Singapore Fringe Festival 2008
presents

THE COMPLAINTS CHOIR PROJECT
by TELLERVO KALLEINEN & OLIVER KOCHTA-KALLEINEN (FINLAND)

(co-presented with The Arts House)

WORKSHOPS FROM 07.01.08 – 25.01.08
THE CHAMBER @ THE ARTS HOUSE
BY REGISTRATION

PERFORMANCES FROM 26.01.08 – 27.01.08
VARIOUS VENUES
FREE

http://www.singaporefringe.com
http://www.complaintschoir.org

“…. griping and whining were the fifth most cited essential traits
of a Singaporean. ”
– The Straits Times, 12 August 2007

A spectre is haunting the world – the spectre of the Complaints Choir. People all over the world – in Helsinki, Birmingham, Jerusalem or Alaska – have joined together to sing out their complaints with fellow citizens. No complaint is too big or small: from broken underpants to snoring husbands to offices with Siberian temperatures, the choir members decide on their favourite gripes that will be made into the song.

Join the Complaints Choir of Singapore – see our call for participants here:
http://www.dailymotion.com/singaporefringefest/video/x34kfw_the-complaints-choir- project-call-f

The movement has finally arrived in Singapore. This is your opportunity to show our uniquely Singaporean complaint culture. Come and join the Complaints Choir of Singapore! Show your pride for our infamous complaint culture and sing, Singapore! Anybody is welcome – no singing skills required.

For more information or to register, please email info@singaporefringe.com or call us at 6440 8115.

Get involved.

Aside from the formation of and performances by the Singapore Complaints Choir, all four Complaints Choir Videos – Helsinki, Birmingham, Hamburg and St Petersburg – will be showcased as a 2-channel video installation at The Art House Gallery from 13 – 18 January and 20 – 23 January 2008. Admission is free.