Michael Fay Revisited: World Should Cane America

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 8/26/2010 12:01:00 AM
[NOTE: This is the first of two Singapore and America posts.] Most of you are probably old enough to remember the Michael Fay caning incident of 1994. A typical American wastrel in the Bart Simpson mould named Michael Fay was punished for allegedly spray painting cars in Singapore. Now, that city-state is famed for its cleanliness and orderliness as compared to certain other places. (Like, say, the great American city of Detroit.) For Fay's troubles, the delinquent was thrown in the gaol, and most famously, caned four times. Fay became an American media sensation, with all sorts of wusses appealing for clemency for one of their own. It also had the effect of making Singapore (temporarily) known to Americans who are famously incurious about the rest of the world.

Of course, this kid would have received six lashes were it not for the intervention of Bill "I Feel Your Pain" Clinton. Feeling aggrieved by Singaporean no-nonsense rules, then-United States Trade Representative Mickey Cantor even tried to suggest the city-state was not a proper host of a 1994 World Trade Organization event. At the end of the day, however, what the Singaporeans suggested in reply sticks: America is better off sorting its own issues that telling the rest of the world what to do.

The intervening years have brought us full circle to present-day America. What have we learned since then? Well, for one thing, that Singapore was right to hold up the mirror to American indiscipline as manifested by the likes of Fay and similar louts. Let's just say America still has fearsome issues dealing with self-control and self-discipline. Some time after returning home, Fay was found to be sniffing butane. As you probably have figured, the plight of America is that of Michael Fay writ large. The US is an addict not to butane but to debt. Just as Fay had all sorts of apologists: "Oh, he's just a kid" (he was actually 18 by then), and "Oh, he was diagnosed with ADHD"; so does America have its share of "deficits don't matter" mathlexics and stimulus junkies with nothing to show for.

The larger point is that, unfortunately, the rest of the world has been lax in caning America and tossing it in the gaol for even more outrageously loutish behaviour. By gladly funding this wastrel nation, the rest of the world has encouraged all sorts of pointless megaspending to no one's particular benefit, Like those that came before it which reached this point of decline, the fundamental identity of America on the world stage is somewhere between a bully and a hypocrite. If you don't push back, it shows no compunction in economolesting you and telling you it's for your own good. Maybe it'll throw in some freedom and growth shtick for good measure.

Some ask, "Why is the world economy so shambolic?" In reply, let's ask "Why doesn't the rest of the world discipline the financial rogue regime that has done the most to vandalize it?" Soon I will write more about how to put America in its place. Certainly, all evidence points to its current indiscipline doing no good for itself or for others.

Following the example of the archetypal Yankee offender Michael Fay, what must be done is clear: Cane it till it's deservedly red, white, and blue. It's high time someone beat some sense into America before it's too late. I guess some folks had the good sense to try and drum discipline into the US so many years ago given the waste it has become.