When she was in high school, Lady Gaga says, she was thrown into a trash can.
The pop superstar now wants to use her fame and influence to address the problem of bullying in schools.
An excellent commentary by Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times.
Food for thought on pop culture and contemporary music, which are topics that do appear in GP exams. Also it is worth considering the power of celebrity (by that I mean the state of being famous) to change the world. To what extent do celebrities have a responsibility to be good role models, take up good causes and make the world a better place?
My job isn’t to tell your kids how to act or not to act.
– Miley Cyrus
The truth of it is every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation.
– Taylor Swift
In Singapore, we tend to be too dependent on the government to solve our problems (which is the “top-down” approach that Gaga alluded to). Lady Gaga decided on a “bottom-up” approach, mobilising her followers to start a movement. There are signs that Singaporeans are becoming a more engaged, proactive citizenry though, what with several groups lobbying the government quite aggressively to preserve the Bukit Brown cemetery recently instead of destroying large parts of it to build the North-South Expressway. As Singaporeans become more vocal and assertive of their democratic freedoms, the question is what degree of this behaviour would be healthy for Singapore. A society that is disengaged and apathetic is not cohesive and lacks a sense of belonging; a society that is intensely engaged and overly passionate about causes can become divided and fractious, like what we often see in Britain and America. How do we strike a balance going forward?
Lastly, the Lady Gaga-inspired movement makes us contemplate the astonishing power of online social media. She has the most Twitter followers in the world. While Twitter often fosters the most vapid, asinine chatter ever seen in the history of the human race, it can also be a force for good.
by Steven Ooi, GP & English tutor
B.A. (First Class Honours), English Language, NUS
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