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Sunday, January 21, 2007

RAFFIQUE SHAH: "Hypocrisy over porn videos"

Raffique Shah can almost be guaranteed to provide a well-informed and well-rounded read on topics of interest and controversy in the public space. As a follow-up to my last piece, I suggest a read of Shah's op-ed in today's Sunday Express (http://www.trinidadexpress.com/index.pl/article_opinion?id=161086318). Select snippets follow.
ADULTS who have expressed outrage at "porn videos" currently making the rounds, supposedly starring secondary school students, are either hypocritical, downright stupid, or a not-so-clever combination of both. Why are we shocked that pornographic material is coming out of our classrooms? We have seen bandits aplenty emerge from this failing education system, murderers, addicts, gangsters, fraudsters and even a few low-life politicians! So what if these pampered-from-birth children decide to harness technology, generously paid for by their doting parents and their home-or television-derived talents, to produce studio-quality porn movies?

...I will not bury my head in the Otaheite-mud and cast the children into purgatory. I will, however, damn the parents who, instead of buying simple "CEPEP" call-and-receive phones, equip their darlings with the latest "Bluetooth" technology.

Why does a student need a phone with these advanced features? Now, to augment the dumb tube (jumbo flat-screens, excuse me!) that already carries more than enough porn and computers that are used in the main for accessing erotic websites, we have hi-tech phones for made-in-the-classroom videos.

If only we would learn to use technology wisely. I am not suggesting that we eliminate sex from the learning equation. But we can have sexually-educated and satisfied students who also have deep interests in pursuing knowledge through use of modern technology.

My last article though has generated some good feedback, posted on the blog and to me directly. I'm looking forward now to getting further information from a distant cousin of mine, a teacher in Barbados. He is meant to have a discussion with a group of students there on the whole issue of cell phones in schools.

I'm still to be convinced that things have changed so much that young people need to have an always-on audiovisual connection to the wider world. I've heard it said that it permits parents to know where their children are all the time, but I don't buy that argument. There was a time that only one of my grandparents had a home phone. My primary school didn't even have a phone until I was well into the upper school.

But my seeming clairvoyant parents and grandparents always knew where I was... or did they really...? Perhaps as a child, I simply knew where I was supposed to be and what my boundaries were, otherwise my ass was grass...

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